It’s a normal human response. We appreciate when good comes to us, making our lives less stressful, and our experiences more comforting, to be smiled at. Usually, since none of us is an island unto himself, or herself, other people do touch our lives in profound ways. They lift our minds from worry, keeping our thoughts vibrant, giving assurance that life is worth living, because others care about our wellbeing.

At times when we share those words of praise, the compliments, the wonderful, but too often late reflections, about people who touched our lives, saying thanks is in order, but it is better when the people are living and can understand that their actions have been appreciated. The effort should be made to show appreciation; applaud the lives of givers in positive ways, by saying, “Thank You.” It is a worthy action.

All of us should reach out and thank people who affect and enrich our lives. I will not suggest an order, such as who should be first, or be last to receive a message of thanks. Everyone who agrees with the idea of saying thanks, will have to look around and reach out to those who gave to them, then set an order. It is certain, whether placed first or last in that line-up of people, we should thank, there are many people we can make the time to commend, while they yet live.

This is better than when they are lying there dead. At that time, people may be shouting, wailing or presenting beautiful, poetic lines, but the body is there lifeless. Nothing is heard or can be appreciated at that time. The dead knows nothing. They do not hear the words of honor presented after death has overwhelmed them.

Some people may like to begin saying thanks in the home; husbands to wives and wives to husbands, especially when they have spent 30, 40, 50 and more years together. There must have been challenging and stressful times, but the fact that they survived the stress and are still together deserves moments of smiles and very warm “Thank Yous!” Grandparents, children, sisters, brothers, and all within the family need to look back and appreciate those special moments for which they can say thanks, showing one another that they are appreciated for the way they influenced or inspired the other’s life.

With all that is going on with the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses, doctors, other first responders, including police officers, are engaged in the communities. They should receive special thanks and commendation for what’s being done to save lives and ensure wellness in our society, among people experiencing health and other emergency challenges.

We have just entered the fourth month of 2021; however, because of community violence, 14 people have already been murdered in the Virgin Islands. We must take the time, say thanks and show appreciation to the police in our communities. They help to protect the islands from such growing violence. The people who work in nursing homes take on needed and very special duties too. From time to time, some of the residents there probably do say thank you and show appreciation.

Despite that, all who have family and friends in nursing homes, should make the time, visit, and show love to the staff of such facilities. It is a challenging experience for the residents, but much more so, for the care-givers. Never forget to tell them, “thank you.”

Teachers are very special people. The world has been reminded about that truth during the last year. So many parents now realize that teachers are fundamental to children’s proper training and success in education. And, there is always the fact that every other profession depends on teachers. So, we all had teachers. If they are still alive and well, it is not too late to find them, show appreciation, and thank them for the way they touched our lives.

Meanwhile, at this time of disease, uncertainty and death, preachers are there helping communities through pain, loss, and reminding families that despite such times of stress and sadness, there is a God who created and still loves the human race. He will see us through such dismal times. We ought to pause, take the time to care and say, “Thank you,” to the preachers we know. They often make important contributions to sad, stressed communities.

Further, the men cleaning the bush from our roadsides deserve a big “thank you.” We should also reach out to those who were involved in road repairs, up Mafolie Hill, at the Main Street area, and elsewhere. We ought to remember and appreciate all those workers as well as St. Thomas-Water Island Administrator Avery Lewis. Let’s thank him too, for his supervision and oversight.

Undoubtedly, there are other people who touch our lives and to whom we should say, “Thank you.” Let’s find them, acknowledge them while they are still living and can accept the applause of our gratefulness. Then, unquestionably, we should always thank and trust Jehovah God, our creator and redeemer.

— Whitman T. Browne, St. Thomas