Thank you was my third thought as I lay sprawled on the floor with the Cathedral crashing down outside the window. My first thought was something like “Earthquake! BIG! Get-under-a-table!” My second thought was “Just hold on, the walls are peeling off, the floor is bucking, the roof is coming down, it’s so loud, so violent, just hold on, just breathe!’ The old brick post office was still holding as the years were shaken out of her. There was so much dust in the air it was hard to see much beyond the immediate room. I was so thankful to be alive and uninjured – it seemed miraculous.
Over 12,000 earthquakes have rocked my world since 2010. I have learned that things can be snatched away in an instant. Throughout our lives we are constantly having to adjust to changes and say goodbye to things we have either outgrown or lost, or things that have been taken from us; our health, our job, our relationships, and sometimes even our sense of who we are.
I discovered that even on the hardest days where time could be measured by the lengthening of a crack along the kitchen floor - which the smallest act of kindness could fill a dark world with sunshine.
Over the coming weeks and months I noticed how small moments of connection, often with strangers had become a new currency here [in Christchurch, New Zealand]. While bumping along jagged roads and around endless orange cones, or weaving through wobbly supermarket aisles, one kind gesture could curve my whole day into a smile.
A new sense of purpose took root; I wanted to do something that would not only maintain the sense of community that was so strong when our city was at its weakest, but to build on it.
I have always loved a quote by 15th century monk Meister Eckhart, who said: If you say one prayer your whole life, ‘thank you’ will suffice. An idea sparked. Based on the idea that thank you is enough, I created a simple process to encourage people to connect with a thank you. I had 10,000 thank you cards printed and began giving them away by via hair salons, libraries, cafes, dentists - anywhere I could find a welcome corner of counter space. The Thank you Project was born.
The free cards encourage people to write a short thank you note to someone. I continue to give away thank you cards - trusting that each one sent weaves another thread of kindness into our world, little by little making it a kinder place for all of us to live.
Send a thank you to someone today. Don’t wait. Start small, start easy, and keep it short and sweet. Make your own card, send an email, a text - today, ...now!
The Thank you Project’s mission is to help create a world connected in thankfulness. Although we are joining an evolution that has already begun - there is still much to be done. As well as distributing free thank you cards, we are building a Thank you Bank—a collection of stories, poems and inspiration about the impact of a thank you in people’s lives.
If any of this excites you too, and you would like to get involved with kind words, donations, distrubution... please email me on email@example.com