He was right; having a good friend for over fifty years is impressive. I was attending a dinner in which a well-respected scholar and professor was being recognized for his accomplishments. Instead of focusing on himself and his journey, he spent his entire speech thanking the numerous individuals that impacted his life. As he reflected on his experience, he said one of the most rewarding gestures he ever received had been from a former student going out of his way to find the professor’s contact information to contact him and thank him for the time and effort he put into his education. I found it peculiar that after several decades of many accomplishments, friends and family, one of the most rewarding gestures the professor received was a thank you.
It’s true though. Sometimes, after trying so hard and going out of our way to help someone, all it takes is two words—thank you—to start the rush of accomplishment and success. In fact, it happens all the time at work and school when we get a pat-on-the-back for the job-well-done on a project or a paper.
I used to ponder on the significance of giving “thanks” to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He). Clearly there is no benefit to Him, al-Ghani (the One that is free of all needs). Slowly yet surely though, life comes to show that it truly is the thought that counts; at the core, it’s about the very process and not the details. The very act of giving thanks is a humbling comment; a recognition of benefit and respect or even awe. The professor didn’t reminisce on the contents of the thank you, but rather the fact that he was thanked. And notice – the value of the thank you increased because the student was so thankful that he was willing to thank his professor years later, even at the cost of the student’s time and effort. In other words, the fact that his student was so thankful that he thanked him again, was worth more.
We’re so blinded by our own heedlessness and the thick, murky fog of this dunya (the physical Universe) that we readily miss the blessings that surround us. But when we are so fortunate to see some of the things that keep us standing, we don’t have to search for Allah’s contact information. He’s the friend that we’ve known the longest and His number never changes wa alhamdulilLah (and praise be to Allah).