Recently I got a message from someone I talked to in an online support group a few years ago. They thanked me for talking to them and helping them and told me that they’re doing better now and helping others. It brought tears to my eyes reading her message to me and reminded me of the story of the 10 lepers.
During my second year of college I went through some health issues, both mental and physical, that kept me at home and in bed most of the time. I didn’t feel like I could do much of anything so I was on the computer a lot. I ended up joining a lot of different support groups online. I started out with autism groups and telling my story there. It gave so much hope to people that I joined more and more groups. Eventually I ended up joining groups called “To Write Love on Her Arms” or TWLOHA. If you haven’t heard of TWLOHA, I encourage you to check out their mission statement here.
Anyway, I talked to hundreds of people through these support groups. Not all of them talked to me back and most of my interactions with people were limited to a single conversation. I knew I was helping people and possibly saving lives, but I couldn’t continue doing the same thing when I recovered because I just didn’t have the time anymore.
I have often thought about that time in my life and all the people I talked to and have wondered how much of a difference I really made. So it was nice to get that message and to know that someone noticed the change in themselves and realized that I was a part of that.
As I was thinking about all of this, I thought about Christ and the one leper that went back to thank Him after He healed 10 lepers. Christ says, “Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” I know how much it meant to me to know that someone recognized that I helped them and thanked me for it. I think it would mean a lot to Christ for us to thank Him for helping us and healing us. God definitely wants us to go out into the world and help others like He has helped us, but to turn back and give thanks is what sets us apart from the others that have been helped.
Christmas is a time to give and help others, but I think Thanksgiving comes before Christmas because we should give thanks for the help we’ve gotten before we go out to help others. I know that I can definitely give thanks more often and I will try harder to recognize Christmas as a time to give, but also as a time to give thanks.