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November 23, 2020

Dear Harpeth Hills,

The late William Stidger, famous minister and teacher, fell into a deep depression at one time in his ministry. In the midst of this despair, a friend suggested, “Think of those who have benefitted you in life and ask if you have ever thanked them.”

Upon reflection Stidger realized many people had helped him, but most he had never properly thanked. His friend encouraged him to write a letter of thanks to each one who had been helpful.

Stidger remembered a teacher named Miss Smith who had given him a love for literature. He wrote Miss Smith and expressed his appreciation for her influence on his life.

Shortly after, he received a letter in shaky handwriting. Miss Smith wrote, “Dear Will, when I read your letter I was blinded with tears for I remembered you as a little fellow in my class. You have warmed my old heart. I have taught school for fifty years and yours is the first letter of thanks I ever received from a student. I shall cherish it until I die.”

This response so encouraged Stidger he wrote another letter and another. After 500 letters he stopped. The depression had lifted.

Does 2020 have you down? Pick up a pen and write an old fashioned letter to your High School English teacher who taught you what it meant to split an infinitive. Double check your grammar.

Sad because Thanksgiving is going to stink this year? Locate your former Scoutmaster and thank her or him for having faith in you when no one else did.

Feeling blue? Call a former co-worker who is having a tough time and reminisce about that crazy boss of yours.

What about family? Do they know how much you appreciate them?

The list of people to thank is limited only by your memory. To whom do you owe a word of thanks?

I love you.