Form poems, Personal, Religious, Spiritual Journey Thursday

Gratitude (NPM ’16-Day 13)

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I had a lovely experience of gratitude expressed to me last weekend.

A bit of backstory.

Years ago, it became customary for our church’s small groups to discuss Sunday’s sermon in their meetings. The church office provided sermon notes for that. In February of 2011, the pastor responsible for small groups asked me if I would write the notes, which included making up discussion questions and writing a prayer at the end.

Since only a few knew who did them, I got very little feedback. I wasn’t even sure they were being used. When we had a pastoral change in 2014 I thought that maybe the new pastors would release me from my responsibility. But no. The new pastor in charge of adult ministries wanted me to soldier on. So I did.

And I’ve been perfectly fine working in obscurity. I love Paul’s description of the church as a body where each of us plays a part, some visible, some hidden. In fact, I rather liked being a bit hidden—though I did explain to those sitting around me in church Sunday mornings why I brought my laptop and typed furiously through the sermon.

All that changed on Sunday—actually Saturday night, when I got a Direct Message on Twitter from our lead pastor, saying some nice things about those notes, asking me how long I had been doing them, and saying that he was going to encourage their use for his current sermon series. And so on Sunday morning, pastor spilled the beans on me and those notes, and I got a congregation’s worth of applause for five years of note-taking and -making.

It was lovely to get the thanks and recognition. But it also felt awkward—even dangerous (for I know how easily pride creeps in). Plus it was nice when no one knew who was responsible if there were typos or the questions were dumb. That era is over now I guess.

Because I’m writing a poem a day this month—and when you do that, everything you experience becomes potential poem material—the poem below was my piece for last Sunday. I wasn’t going to post it, but then I didn’t have anything suitable for Spiritual Journey Thursday, which seems like the right time to share it. (The form is a triolet.)



My name was mentioned today and there was applause
I was thanked and honored for work done backstage.
I’m glad I had no part in this because

my name was mentioned today and there was applause.
Now I’ll have to watch i’s and t’s and avoid faux pas
This incident is a kind of turning the page.

My name was mentioned today and there was applause.
It was nice to get thanked for something done backstage.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)


This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted by Holly Mueller at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

james 4:10 1 Corinthians 12:14-26

(The notes I write are now online, in case you’re curious, on this page.)


6 thoughts on “Gratitude (NPM ’16-Day 13)”

  1. I’m glad he spilled the beans. Even though you do this out of love and dedication, the recognition for it is a good thing. It’s hard to do something for others over and over and never have a thank you for it. You are ultimately the winner because you have to pay such close attention.


    1. “You are ultimately the winner because you have to pay such close attention” – So true, Margaret! And I’ve been grateful for that often. I get a double blessing, maybe triple as I need to think through implications and come up with some application questions that make me examine my own life and heart.


  2. What a wonderful way to express an obvious spiritual gift you have! I understand your ambivalence in getting recognized, but a couple of verses comes to mind: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16 The book from which I teach my Spiritual Gifts class encourages, “We are not to be ‘secret servants.’ A visible act of service, done in love, makes a kingdom of difference (By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.- John 13:35).” Let your light shine and let be known it comes from God!


    1. Why thank you, Holly! So appreciate all the verses. The instruction about “We are not to be ‘secret servants'” is new to me. Not that I would have done anything differently. I think this worked out the way it was meant to. Maybe sometimes that hiddenness is a test of our real motivation.


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