A Letter of Thanks to You

gratitude

Photo Credit: Amber B McN via Compfight cc

Dear You,

Yes, you.

Thank you, Faithful Friend. Thank you for the grace you give—the grace that reminds us we’re okay, good enough, even lovely. Thank you for being a space where we know we don’t have to do anything or impress anyone to be worthy of love and belonging. For being the embrace that doesn’t go away. For being the family we choose.

This world is a better place because of you.

Thank you, Exhausted Parent. Thank you for being bone tired because you care enough to pay attention. Thank you for remembering—no matter what the kids try to tell you—eye contact matters more to them than any iPad ever will. Thank you for looking them in the eyes, when all you want to do is close yours. Thank you for loving them enough to give them all of you, and then loving them enough to let them go.

This world is a better place because of you.

Thank you, Rebellious Spouses. Thank you for rebelling against the consumer disease. For refusing to treat your marriage as one more commodity in a world of purchased things. For refusing to make it a transactional place where you get what you you’ve always wanted and, instead, insisting it is a sacred place where two people learn to give what has always been needed.

This world is a better place because of you.

Thank you, to the Young Couple who reached out to me in shock when you found your wedding photo associated with my viral marriage post. Thank you for your willingness to give me a second glance and a second chance. Thank you for the hour you spent talking with me and for sharing this wisdom about marriage:

There is a place where infatuation ends and love begins, and that place is marriage. Marriage isn’t something you feel or a destination you arrive at; it’s something you build. It takes work, and usually it is the hard but holy work of forgiveness. Marriage is the place you finally grow up because, for it to work, you must finally and fully leave the family you were given and unite with the family you’ve chosen. This is a sacrifice, and that is good, because marriage is where we learn the art of sacrifice. Marriage is not just two people with compatible goals; marriage is also one team with a common goal. Thank you again, Young Couple.

This world is a better place because of you.

Thank you, Lonely Ones. To the ones who haven’t yet found a home inside of yourselves or your friendships or parenthood or marriage. Thank you for not giving up. For steadfastly keeping your ears open and listening for the echoes of love within you and around you. For insisting that belonging is possible and unloneliness can happen. For reminding us that faith is simply the courage to put one foot in front of the other while trusting that beauty and belonging exist. Thank you for the hope you will give us when you discover it.

This world is a better place because of you.

Thank you, All of You, for being people who are doing your best to figure out what it means to be a person. Thanks for being human with me. Thank you for having the courage to look into your own heart, face the pain there, and learn from it. Thank you for trying to love yourself, thank you for trying to love others, thank you for making a mess of it, and thank you for trying again anyway. Thank you, because figuring out how to love may be the only thing this life is really about.

This world is a better place because of you.

And, finally, thank you, Facebook. People seem to either love you or hate you. I, for one, am grateful for the way you have connected me with a wide and wonderful world of wise and wonderful people. Thank you for bringing us together when we are far apart, and thank you for letting us ignore you so, when we are together, we can truly be together.

This world is a better place because of you.

With gratitude,

Me

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Next Post: 10 Reasons We Should Wish Each Other Crappy (Not Happy) Holidays

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Disclaimer: My writings represent a combination of my own personal opinions and my professional experiences, but they do not reflect professional advice. Interaction with me via the blog does not constitute a professional therapeutic relationship. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a counselor who can dedicate the hours necessary to become more intimately familiar with your specific situation. I do not assume liability for any portion or content of material on the blog and accept no liability for damage or injury resulting from your decision to interact with the website.

Kelly is a licensed clinical psychologist and co-founder of Artisan Clinical Associates in Naperville, IL. He is also a writer and blogs regularly about the redemption of our personal, relational, and communal lives. Kelly is married, has three children, and enjoys learning from them how to be a kid again. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • karen

    And thank you Kelly for having the courage and grace to share of yourself, your insights, your reminders that life is worth living even among the chaos. We are all interconnected on this earth path and it is a rare individual like yourself who overcomes their fears and says “Come, let us journey together, come let us risk being human together and in so doing find the core of love that supports us all.” Blessings to you and your family.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Karen, thank you. And I love the way you summed up this big human project in your quote. Did you write that, and if so, where can I read your writing? : )

      • karen

        Yes, I did write that quote, feel free to use it if you like. Thank you for your compliment as well. Presently I do not write but if I ever I start it would be my privilege to have you read it.

  • Sandra

    Gracias Dr. Kelly! Muchisimas gracias por compartir su sabiduria!

    • drkellyflanagan

      You’re welcome, Sandra!

  • Tammy

    Thank you Dr. Kelly. I found your posts through a friend’s share on FB. They are a blessing at this point in my life. I’m trying to rebel against habits of loneliness and pride that were well taught by neglect and abuse. (That sounds like I consider myself a victim, but I don’t – just understand where the habits come from)

    I’d been working on learning new habits and starting over with a life based on love and togetherness. It’s harder than I thought, but at least the goal is worth it. So THANKS so much for your posts -the thought of rebelling against old habits is much more interesting than breaking bad habits.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Tammy, all big love begins with a rebellion of some kind, especially love of our ourselves. I’m so glad you’re fighting the good fight and that my words are helping in some way. And I totally understand what you mean about the abuse and neglect: when we can state it as a fact which we need to overcome, it can be very transformative.

  • Raj Kushal Rathour

    Eff

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you, Raj. And thanks for being around here, pretty much from the beginning, and always being so thoughtful and encouraging. You are a light.

  • Neera

    Thank you Kelly for being in our lives even though virtually only..your words on marriage have really touched a chord in my heart as I complete 25 years of this beautiful tradition.I
    am indeed grateful for your shared experiences as they give us so much insight into human behaviour in all its complexity. Thank you !

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you, Neera, and congratulations on 25 years!

  • Lynda Beth Unkeless

    Thank you for writing posts
    I really enjoy reading!

    And
    Happy
    Gobble
    Gobble
    Day to you and yours!

    Enjoy!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Likewise, Linda! May your day be filled with fun and peace!

  • Shelia Hibl

    Help & health & peace. My thanks to you for showing us all that we are human & we are all volunteers here in this life. Stop & breathe as each breath is a miracle. Look at your scenery & even if it looks bleak there is miracles in it as you seen it. Doc you got the golden stars on my charts!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Shelia, I love that: we are all volunteers. So glad to be volunteering in this project with people like yourself!

    • Vicki

      Hello Kelly & Shelia,

      First Shelia I appreciate your comment “we are all volunteers.”

      Kelly,

      Thanks to you for being transparent and vulnerable when you so thoughtfully and thought provokingly write about matters of life, love and living. You are a great asset to this community and the therapeutic community.

      As a therapist myself, I know it can be difficult at times to share in an authentic, transparent and vulnerable way, but I believe it pays off in the end with our clients who can’t sometimes make sense of what is going on in their world. It certainly does not
      mean I share “all” of me, but “some” of me when it makes sense to.

      I so appreciate what you write about and how you have put such meaning into your writing.

      I am wondering out loud of course :< ) whether or not one of your next writings might be on….what else but…. "We are all volunteers" and what it may be that you write about. I wait with anticipation!!!

      • drkellyflanagan

        Vicki, thank you for your kind words. And for a great writing prompt! I will sit with that and see what arises!

  • Christina Haas

    A belated thank you and note of appreciation from one of those tired parents still looking her child in the eye! I hope your Thanksgiving was AWESOME!

  • Patrick Slattery

    Thank You Kelly for sharing your thoughts ! We are indeed all human and make mistakes It’s nice to hear that repeated ! D