When Gratitude is Mistook for Spam… Something is Wrong


When I was fifteen years old, I learned to backpack with Reading’s Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club. I didn’t own a car. My parents were not interested in hiking. You met at a parking lot every weekend and contributed a dollar or two for gas and hiked all over the area. All the ‘elders’ took me under their wing and taught me how to do every aspect of the sport. They gave me not just a beloved sport and pastime, but a vehicle to a very satisfying life-long occupation. So when one of my hiking buddies dropped dead very suddenly of a heart attack while hiking, my young world was shaken. It was the first time anyone close to me died. To heal from my grief, I wrote hand-written letters to every single person in my life that I cared about and told them that I loved them. I said, ‘I did not one more person vanishing from my life before I had the chance to tell them.”

Decades afterwards, people told me they saved that letter and that they had never gotten a letter like that prior to mine and never afterwards. It’s a pity.

This Thanksgiving, I made up a simple little poem and sent it out to my friends and even some colleagues. (I edited it a bit for my editors). But I still told them they were a blessing. But one came back to me and said…

“Not that this isn’t a nice thing to say, but I’m thinking that your email address might have been hijacked for spamming purposes.”

I couldn’t believe it. Are we so unaccustomed to hearing people express gratitude that we mistake it for spam?

I wrote back and told my editor from Adventure Cyclist Magazine…

“I sent that to a handful of my editors, the ones that working with them  has impacted and blessed my life- Adventure Cyclist is certainly in that group.
When I think of the cycling adventures that I have been encouraged to take because of writing for you, those trips/memories are some of the best of our whole family from their entire childhood that’s big!”
He wrote back and said he was very happy to hear that. And I thought it sad.
What in the heck are we waiting for?
In the past decade or so, I’ve tried to get in the habit of telling my close friends and family that I love them before getting off the phone,  just in case this is it. If I embarrass them or make them uncomfortable, I can’t see their faces and they don’t have to say it back, plus, they soon grow used to it and maybe like it.
My children have so gotten into the habit, that I can talk to them multiple times in a row on the phone and they never ever get off without telling me that they love me. I’ll take all of that I can get, from anyone. And I am happy to see this next generation generating such positive energy into the human race.
There ought to be more flinging of that LOVE word around, scary as it might sound and be for some. Who among us has too much? That’s just absurd.
This is how we should perhaps think of it,
‘To say ‘I love you,’ and to mean it is the same thing as saying, ‘God Bless You.”  And who among us could not use a few more blessings and grace?

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11 thoughts on “When Gratitude is Mistook for Spam… Something is Wrong Leave a comment

  1. How wonderful it is to have a kindred spirit … one that is unafraid to share their emotions and values the shortness of life but the life-long memories of impacting another. Thank you for your poem and for not forgetting those who are impacted by your simply being a wonderful person.

  2. By the way, Cindy. I loved your little poem. Thanks so much for including me as your friend. I enjoy reading your blog whenever I find the time. It’s nice keeping up with you and your latest adventures. I always marvel over your life, girl. You have a good, full one.

    The best to you and your family during this holiday season.


    1. we MUST MUST MUST meet someday, Jan and exchange big hugs and stories and laughs before we become gezettes! You have always been one of my most favorite editors, mostly because you became my friend too- usually my intent but not often embraced. Thank YOU for that.

  3. You are truly a unique spirit, Cindy. Thank you for the email and the blog about it. It is reassuring to see unabashed and loving emotions sometimes arising from a fellow Italian descendant’s genetic makeup being shared to a wide audience. As my father told me often, “we are an emotional people.” 🙂

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