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Article:   "Tell them how much they mean to your life"

By Janet Pfeiffer
Daily Record
Jan. 2, 2008

About four months ago, I returned from a business meeting to find several messages on my answering machine . As I was sorting through my briefcase returning documents to their respective places in my office, I heard the sound of a long-ago familiar voice.

"Hi, Janet, it's Bob. I just completed a training session at work and the instructor encouraged us to call someone who had really impacted our lives. I thought of you and what a difference you made in my life, even after all these years."

Bob was a client of mine more than 10 years ago. I mentored him through a difficult period in his life. It had been years since I'd heard from him. I was deeply moved by his thoughtful message.

This past Sunday, I got the urge to call one of my best friends whom I'd lost touch with over the years. Denise and I met the summer that I graduated from high school. We instantly bonded. Over the past 40 years, our lives have gone in different directions and, although we have kept in touch sporadically, we rarely see one another. Yet in my heart, the connection we share is as strong as ever.

I dialed her number and was ecstatic when I heard her voice. "Do you have a few minutes to talk?" I asked. "Are you kidding me?" she squealed. "There's nothing I'd rather do!"

We were like sisters. We shared everything. So, in addition to bringing each other up to date, I made sure she knew how much her friendship has enriched my life. When our phone conversation ended two hours later, she told me that this was the best Christmas present she had gotten. Me, too.

How many New Year's resolutions have you made that fell by the wayside before reaching the 31st of the month? It's difficult to remain committed to fulfilling a goal for 12 long months. But what if your resolution were more manageable? What if it could be completed in one brief moment? That's it-- nothing more. How easy would that be? What if you made the decision to reach out to one person in your life who really made a difference and let them know that?

Several years ago, I began purchasing gas at a station on Route 23. Each time I pulled in, I was greeted by the most delightful attendant I've ever encountered.

He was brimming with enthusiasm and sunshine no matter how cold or miserable the weather was. But he went way beyond cheerful. He had a way of making me feel that it was an honor for him to be servicing my car; that I was actually doing him a favor! Each week, I made it a point of getting my gas at the same station, at the same time, hoping to see his smiling face. The joy that he filled my heart with far outlasted the gas that filled my tank.

After several visits, I decided I needed to let him know just how much he had brightened my day. I wrote him a brief note. After all, what is the sense of having warm thoughts about someone if you don't let them know? For the next month, each time I passed the station, I'd pull in hoping to find him there, pump in hand, smile on face. Sadly, he was no longer working there and I never saw him again. That was a shame.

Months after receiving the call from Bob, a smile still stretches across my face when I think of his kind gesture. It warms my heart to know that I made a positive difference in his life. That's the kind of feeling that I want to pass along to others. It is the simplest of all New Year's promises to make. Who has left their imprint on your life? Why not resolve to share your gratitude with them?

Just once, just for the new year. That's a resolution that's easy to keep.

Janet Pfeiffer is a resident of Oak Ridge and columnist for the Daily Record.

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