The Daily Reminder

April 14th, 2011 by Andrea Bennett

How a Facebook friend’s messages of hope prompted an overdue mission to thank others.

Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project

Every day, I look forward to the missives from a Facebook friend who sends a daily post to my wall (and the walls of his 2387 other friends). They’re inspiring, motivating, sometimes platitudinous, but always welcome. Some recent examples:

TODAY’S QUOTE: "You can't help someone climb a mountain without getting to the top yourself."

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Only when we are unburdened by the past and undistracted by the future can we experience the joy of living in the moment."

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Brief is life but love is our most enduring legacy."

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Worry is a down payment on a problem you may never have."

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere."

I don’t actually know my somewhat Confucian friend; he lives in a state in which I have not a single other friend and have only visited once, and we have never met in person; in fact, I don’t even know how we “friended” each other in the first place. But this very kind man (who lives 2,000 miles away from me) has become a constant force for good ever since my life began to resemble a bad country-western song (to wit: my husband passed away, I had to leave my home, my dog left me for my sister’s house). He even checks in with me personally every once in a while just to make sure I’m hanging in there.

But the bigger impact he has is that more than 2,000 people can count on at least one positive message from him each day. If you don’t need them, they’re easily dismissed as Facebook bromides administered by a smiling man that never has anything negative to say. But when you do need those messages, well, they’re life-affirming reminders that you will be okay. Clearly, he expects no thanks; he does it because he’s a good guy – and he thinks in inspirational one-liners.

And maybe the best way to thank a person like that is by paying it forward.

I owe a lot of thanks to folks to people for what they’ve done for me over the last few months. For instance, I’d like to thank the troop of young men who showed up on my lawn with no fanfare to rake the three months of accumulated leaves that had nearly buried my house. I’d like to thank the friend that read a thank you message I wrote to my church congregation after I’d moved away because I didn’t think I could get through it myself while I was still there. I’d like to thank my sister, who took on Behr, the world’s most rambunctious black Lab Retriever, and didn’t beat him when he chewed up our great grandmother’s rocking chair. I’d like to thank my brother’s best friend, who flew to South Carolina and drove my car across the country for me. And I’d like to thank a high school friend I hadn’t spoken to in 20 years, who called just to catch up.

The simple realization I’ve come to is that people deserve to be thanked – even if they’re not expecting it. So, I’m starting on my own thank you campaign today.