Thursday, November 27, 2014

OK, I Need Help and Advice

Out of the blue, yesterday without any warning, someone popped into my life and thanked me for something that I did and for the effect that my action had had on their life. Out of the blue! Someone appeared and then disappeared again. It was, for me, nice. Discombobulating, because of all the emotions and memories suddenly brought to the fore, but nice.

And now I'm on the horns of a dilemma. Maybe you all can help. Many years ago, when I was in school, a popular kid did something really nice to me. It was only that one time, it wasn't the start of any friendship or anything, it was just a simple act of kindness that mattered, deeply, to me. The probability is that this person doesn't even remember the moment.

It was big to me.

It wasn't big to anyone else.

But now, for the first time, I have the capacity to contact this person to say thank you. But I'm afraid that the intent behind the contact would mean more than what it means. I don't want to reach out to establish any kind of 45 year later relationship, I just want to say thanks.

Is that weird?

Should I just let it go?

Help!

17 comments:

Liz McLennan said...

As you know, words have power. And you have no idea how yours will be received, but you should send them, anyway.

It's a wonderful feeling to know that we've impacted another somehow, and even if this man initially says, "Huh? I don't remember that," he won't forget your gratitude or how it makes him feel NOW.

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the States. I'd pick a day each year, and use it to clear your list of overdue thanks, including this one.

You never know when someone else could use a little pick-me-up. Maybe this instinct of yours would help someone else.

pattib said...

Don't let it go. Reach out. Your thanks might mean a great deal to this person. As we go through life we usually never know what impact we make on people. To know that you've made a difference in someone's life, without even realizing it, can give that person a sense of purpose and value. What a gift!

Selena said...

I would do it. If there is a way that you can do it through a letter or email then it is still saying thank you but without the awkwardness of having to have a fullblown conversation. I know if I had made a difference to someone I would be happy to hear it:)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm . . . I would go with the "attitude of gratitude" and if the recipient reads some ulterior motive into your thanks - let him deal with it! Your motives are pure (and commendable) and that's what counts!

Lili said...

I, too, had the opportunity to thank someone in the long distant past for something they had done when I was a teenage. They did not remember the incident at all (my memory is far longer than most people) but they remembered me and I know I made their day brighter by saying thank you...and it made me feel good, too.

I don't talk to this person anymore, but I am glad to have had the chance to express my gratitude.

Jeannette said...

I agree -- do it. You should have little difficulty wording it so that it doesn't seem like you're trying to open up a friendship.
If it were the other way, if you had wronged someone and felt the urge to apologize, I'd wager that you might not have the same hesitation.

Kristine said...

You're still thinking about it, so it obviously mattered to you. :) Thanks to social media and other tech making communication easier, I think these kind of reaching out moments have become more common. I both give and receive occasional messages to old acquaintances with "I don't know if you remember this, but it meant a lot to me... Thanks!" I haven't found them to be weird or carry any expectation of rekindling a relationship--just a friendly exchange of warm fuzzies. :) Happy American Thanksgiving! :)

wheeliecrone said...

My answer echoes the others - follow your instincts. Thank this person.

How he or she feels about receiving a communication from you is out of your control.

Say thank you. It is not too late.

Liz said...

Do it.

Anonymous said...

Per a recent Facebook meme - kindness is free, sprinkle that sh*t everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dave, you've never met me, but you have been a source of inspiration, encouragement, and laughter. I just wanted to say THANK YOU!
Happy US Thanksgiving!

Belinda Burston said...

Letting someone know that what they did made a difference, no matter how long after the event, sends a shaft of light into the darkness of this often dark and cynical world. We need all the light we can get!

Anonymous said...

Maybe on a handwritten card?
"Dear___, Today you did something that I found meaningful and I am grateful. I just wanted you to know. Thank you, Dave"

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. I'm on the opposite side of so many. I think you should let it go. If, and only if, the reaching out could be misconstrued, I wouldn't. After all, it has been 45 years. That is a long time. I know some kindnesses are remembered and sparkle like jewels against the backdrop of all the other junk, yet I think it would be best to chalk it up to a lesson learned, to be more thankful and express it in the present. Sometimes our intentions are misunderstood as being "needy". No, I wouldn't reach out at this point. All the comments are so lovely and I feel Grinch-like going in an different direction. Be thankful in your heart and let it be.

Jayne Wales said...

Yes let him know. You never know what kind of life this guy had or what's happening now. Just say it. I think it's good to give thanks

wendy said...

It is always so powerful when we learn that our actions had meaning, especially well after the fact. I think you can find a way to say "Not looking for anything from you just wanted to let you know. " So, there's my two cents worth!