Sometimes the real thank you comes years later. This is because it sometimes takes years before we truly understand the cost of the gift. It's not that we aren't appreciative at the time, but our gratitude multiplies as our understanding grows.
Yesterday I spent a couple of hours putting together a rather large toy. To be specific, it was the U.S.S. Flag, a G.I. Joe aircraft carrier that I had received as a boy.
G.I. Joe was an obsession for me as a kid, so when it came time for me to put childish things away, I chose to pack up my extensive collection, in the hopes that I might someday have a boy of my own who would appreciate such a collection.
Some 5-30 years later, that day has arrived. My boy's collection is now complete, with this:
Having now built it myself, I can give a truly heartfelt thank you to my mom. As I put this 7-foot ship together, I recalled that my mom would stay up late on Christmas Eve, putting together all of the G.I. Joe toys, like models, so that when I woke up on Christmas, play could begin immediately.
It would also have been her doing to pack these toys up, complete with instructions, so I could repeat the process many years later.
I couldn't help but realize that this process is much like the spiritual process we all make, making commitments and accepting gifts from God, only realizing years later the true impact and sacrifice of it all.
Now, can anyone tell me what this might be worth, assuming my kids don't destroy it?