Have you noticed how it takes a bit of work to be a better human being? Not so much that you give up, but enough to make it joyously challenging.

Sometimes, thoughtfulness comes too little and too late, and pain, even injury, results both to self and to others.

A little work on thoughtfulness pays off handsomely in our relationships with others. It allows for a little creativity instead of the “same old, same old” responses. And we find ourselves saying, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it that way,” less often.

I remember being in Little Rock a few years ago with a horrendous schedule. I dropped some laundry off, and they promised it would be ready in time for me to catch my plane. I rushed by to pick it up only to be told it wasn’t ready.

My response wasn’t particularly nice! I stormed out and was hurrying to my car when, suddenly, I thought, “All that…for socks!?” I ran back and apologized (they apologized too, which was also in order!). Such is the joyous work of an attempt to be more thoughtful—to be a better human being.

Our ability to think the way we do distinguishes us from all other living things. So, thoughtfulness is, when you pause to think about it, right there, just waiting for us to see it as one of our greatest treasures—a treasure sitting there in plain sight, waiting for you to notice.

It’s a bit of work, but it is joyous work.