I was overwhelmed with an outpouring of kindness, concern, and care following my loss. People were so good to me.
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15
The household of faith, believers, rallied around me. As one friend told me, “This was a gut punch for all of us.” My loss affected so many. They cared. And so many responded in a multitude of kindnesses and generosities.
Thinking back over those months, I received so much in the way of tangible support. I was provided meals galore. Flowers were given for the visitation and funeral. I was even given money. I was given gift cards. I was notified that Bibles had been donated in Kim’s memory. And a lot of money was given in Kim’s memory to the International Mission Board’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering that supports our missionaries around the world. I was blessed, and I am grateful to God and to believers who responded to him. As of this posting, almost $20,000 has been given in Kim’s memory to support missionaries involved in the missionary task.
“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me…” Psalms 50:23
I was told numerous times when I tried to take down a name and address that I shouldn’t worry about writing a thank you card. In our household, it was Kim who religiously wrote thank you notes. She was grateful and seemed to operate out of a conviction to show her gratitude. The more I think about it, she was simply a grateful person because she was humble.
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:10
I remember deciding I needed to write a thank you note to everyone who gave something or did something. If you did something and I didn’t write, it was an oversight. It was nearly impossible keeping track of givers who gave gifts while I was in shock. Additionally, as I learned later, even more monetary gifts to IMB continued to come in long after Kim’s death. I decided not to respond to the hundreds of sympathy cards. Maybe a thousand. However, I wrote over two hundred thank you notes. It took me several months. But I did it for several reasons:
- First, I was truly grateful. I was overwhelmed at the generosity poured out by supporters and comforters.
- Second, I wanted to honor Kim by expressing my gratitude the way she had always done. She would have wanted me to write notes to every single person.
- Third, I recognized a healing element to sharing my gratitude. My cards became therapeutic thank you notes. The discipline of capturing the tapestry of kindness and expressing my gratefulness became a cathartic endeavor.
I learned that expressing gratitude was an appropriate response to the outpouring I received. It was also one way to honor my wife, and expressing gratitude aided me in my healing. Gratitude was medicinal.
If you’re reading this and joining me on my journey, I’d like to say, “Thank you.” It’s therapeutic to say so.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18