How Great Thou Part

I made a decision to tell the people I love what I think when they come to mind.

We spend time with people…we laugh over old memories and we make new ones – we usher compliments – and we thank them for things they have done.

birthday-cake-cake-birthday-cupcakes-40183We neglect to share the moments, hours, days or weeks they made a difference in our lives.

Let me explain…

My brother was the first person I wrote to share my thoughts.


I decided to write these words to the people I love on their birthdays. The perfect time I believed to share just how much a person impacted my life.

I eagerly etched away at the paper promising myself from this month on I would continue to celebrate birthdays in this manner.

The card read something like this:

I decided to share with you the things that come to mind –

When I think of you…

I remember in high school when you picked me up from the orthodontist. I cried because I thought my teeth were too big. You looked at me confused and said you thought I was supposed to cry when I got my braces on and not off but you took me home instead of back to school without even calling mom.

I remember the day I was sixteen and failed my driver’s exam. The instructor was none too happy I asked her to put on her seatbelt or I wouldn’t put the car in drive. Nonetheless, on the way home as I sat silently in the passenger seat you asked if I wanted to stop at McDonald’s. I thanked you and reminded you I was now a teenager. I knew instantly, my older brother was re-enacting all the years he took his traumatized little sister home from the dentist and stopped at McDonald’s to make it all better.

I remember the day we put our cherished ‘Figaro’ to sleep. A cat who believed he was a dog. We both came home early that evening and made our way to the kitchen table. I don’t believe I had seen you cry before that day. We sat together and you said if this is how we mourn him how will we ever part with her (our mom) one day. That next Christmas you framed an 8 x 10 of our beloved family pet for me.

And then there were the roses. I was twelve years old and opened the door to a gentleman holding flowers. It seems you had to work that birthday so instead, you sent me flowers. Ten years ahead of me you wrote a note which was fatherly. A role you should never have had to assume for all of us girls but you always did and did so selflessly with grace and zero complaints. 

A few days later, I phoned my brother to see if he had received my card.

My sister-in-law answered and told me my brother had cried when he read the note and then handed the phone to him.

Colleen,” he said. “I’m embarrassed to say I do not remember any of the things you mentioned.”

“That’s exactly the point,” I announced. “You would have no memory of the times when simply being you made a huge difference in my life. And what was seemingly effortless to you was profoundly impactful to me. I wanted you to know these are the moments that come to mind when I think of you.

These thoughts are no longer stashed away in the attic of my heart.

I continue to share them with the people who have not only loved me and walked beside me but whose love has and continues to have a profound and earthshattering footprint beside me.

At exactly the right moment when I need them most.

Be it an ordinary daily task of my sister putting my hair in pigtails every day for school, my other sister making her way back to rescue me on my first day of work, my other sister hosting me for a month determined to raise my high school grades or my sister-in-law lovingly showing up at a hospital after my car accident every day to put vitamin E cream on the scars on my face.

Or my friends who especially during times of peaks and valleys have sustained me by just being kind and loving enough to be themselves and permanently etch and instill their own moments in my mind of –

When I think of you …

All these years after my first written note, I am reminded of a comic strip which was popular in the 1970’s called Love Is…

It became more of a movement than a comic strip because of the timing of the movie Love Story.

And all I can think is I hope When I Think of You…

Also becomes a movement.

A contemporized version of letting love travel.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a long handwritten Birthday card with every exact moment and memory.

If time does not permit this make it a text, email or Facebook post.

Just make sure to start with –

When I think of you…

You start every one of my days with a smile, you cared enough to ask if I was okay, you checked on me during a difficult time, you never left my side when I felt alone, you were the first to show up at my door…

Or I see kindness, I see only generosity, I see compassion, I see a friend who was undaunting and devoted, I see love…

Or you made me laugh when I didn’t think it possible, you made this town seem like home, you lift me up…

SO now you know how to give the ultimate birthday gift.

Because birthdays are and always have been about being loved.

But it doesn’t necessarily need to be a birthday that’s just what I initially chose. Now I try and share as often as possible the many ways I have been blessed.

Take a moment right now to post on a friend’s Facebook.

When I Think of You…

Keep those five words traveling.

Make a conscious decision to tell the people you love what you think when they come to mind.

They may not remember how they made a difference in your life.

That’s the point.

To tell them YOU do.

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(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

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