Reading for Treasure

Magic Word of the Day: Appreciation

Posted at Mar 22, 2017 8:00 am

I’m “On Z Road” again, dragging my carry-on behind me as I wiggle out of my shoes and coat before hefting my bag onto the conveyer belt to be screened by the dreaded TSA. Most days I fly through security, but today . . .

z“Miss, I need to take a closer look at your bag.”

As the agent directs me to a side table and piles my belongings around him (I’m not allowed to touch them), I see my time for a cool drink and a sandwich before the flight slipping away. He rummages through my bag and finds the offensive item—a curling iron that somehow looked menacing in the X-Ray machine. Then he swipes the inside of my bag and analyzes the swab. .

Now I wonder if I’ll even have time for a stop at the ladies’ room before my flight.

As he hands my bag back to me, I say the last thing he probably expected to hear: “thank you for being diligent at your job and keeping us safe.” His smile lightens the moment.

You see, he’s one of the people who do a thankless, but necessary, job. His work is unappreciated—at best—or he’s treated with anger, frustration and worse. The TSA agent, the man who handles your garbage, or the woman on the phone who listens to—and resolves—your product complaints, all long for a word of appreciation. And the customer relations manager who has to tell you it will be days before the service tech can fix your TI, heat or AC? She needs a kind word. Especially if her attitude cushions a difficult bit of news for you.

Of course, the habit of showing appreciation doesn’t stop with strangers. It’s worth cultivating for your family and friends, too. Did you daughter scrub the toilets without being asked? Did your spouse cook and clean for you when you had the flu? Did a neighbor surprise you with home-baked cookies?

Those closest to us, and most consistent in loving, caring and making life better for us, often get forgotten simply because they are always there. Reliable.

I’m blessed with a loving, supportive network of family and friends. I try—honestly—to show them the appreciation they crave. But to my shame, I don’t always follow through on the impulse. But when I do, something wonderful happens. Just a smile and a word of thanks can make my husband’s eyes light up and he glows for hours after.

Showing appreciation—through words or actions—is a powerful way to make someone’s day better.

And isn’t that what heroes do?

 

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