The Energy of Unexpected Gratitude

The doorbell rang at 7:30 pm last night. Startled from my reading, I jumped up and opened the door.


Here stood a man with a big grin, holding a plate of brownies.


“I’m John. We live above you on Cockleshell. My wife Julie and I wanted to thank you for your palm trees.“


To say I was confused would be an understatement. We’ve lived here for 30 years. No one has ever commented about our palm trees other than decades ago I had to convince the view blockage committee that palm trees well over 30 feet tall would only block the view of God himself. We were instantly exonerated.


John went on to explain. “We have guests over often and watching the sun set with your palm trees in the horizon just makes such a beautiful picture.” I nodded my head in agreement.


“Then”, added John, “when your trees were trimmed a few weeks ago, it was an acrobatic amazing feet. A neighbor down the street called all of us on this side to come watch.”


John was right. The trees now are reaching some 75 feet in height, healthy and a landmark from all corners of our neighborhood.


He held out the brownies and asked if some time we’d come up and share some wine with them and watch the sunset.


“Why John, we’d love to. Here’s my business card. Thanks to Covid, we’re here all the time so just let us know what works.”


“Perfect. Julie will call you.”


Once in the house, I immediately open the note his wife had written and read about how much they have enjoyed our trees and are so grateful we didn’t cut them down as they grew.


“Then lo and behold,” Julie wrote, “the tree trimmers arrived and we were treated to a show of bravery and suspense. As I was watching the three guys, my phone kept buzzing and messages kept arriving, alerting everyone to watch. We’re thankful you have kept up your trees that over the years have provided us with beauty on a nightly basis. With appreciation- John and Julie.”


It just blew me away. Trees. An unexpected verbalization of gratitude about something I probably have taken for granted. And, from someone I did not know although we’ve lived in this house for 30 years.


It made my night. Actually, it made my week. No—even more than that: it was a kick in the pants. When was the last time I surprised a stranger with a gift to say thank you for what others might take for granted?


I’m baking lemon cakes tomorrow and taking them down to the post office. We might say thank you to our mail carrier but how about the people behind the counters?


What unexpected gratitude can you extend?


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CEO Chief Energy Officer
The Resiliency Group

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