In Canada, I noticed that when I said “thank you” to someone, they most often responded by saying, “No worries.” 

I love this.

It’s because I’m a fairly worried person, on the whole. I think that when I thank someone, I’m less acknowledging my own feeling of gratitude and more ensuring that the person knows that I’m aware that I annoyed them. It’s a version of “sorry.” 

Sorry I bothered you with those questions about the hike to the waterfall. “No worries.”

Sorry I didn’t have exact change when purchasing that sticker for my son’s water bottle. “No worries.”

Sorry about my human-ness, my taking-up-of-space, my bothersome existance. “No worries” has charmed me, but perhaps for reasons that need examination. I’m not sure my sorry-masquerading-as-thanks has cultivated the best parts of me.

Ann Voskamp has a runaway best selling book that most of you have already read called One Thousand Gifts, and in it she muses about the importance of “thank you” in the Christian life. And it’s not about apologizing. 

Eucharisteo (Greek for thanksgiving) contains within it the word charis (grace) and its derivative chara (joy). If it’s joy we seek, Ann reminds us, then we must cultivate a never-never-stopping habit of saying thanks. Thanks for the gifts of grace God gives in this life. Thanks is the key to the joy that we long for.

I’m traveling the continent this year, I guess mostly in search of such joy. I think my whole life has been lived in search of such joy — yours, too, I imagine. So I’ve been trying to be more like Ann Voskamp, more like the Apostle Paul, more like the person that I want to be: the person who says “thanks” a lot. And by “thanks,” I want to mean, “Wow.” And, “I’m grateful.” “I’ve been blessed.” “I love you.”

Thanks to my 7-year old for remembering to change his underwear. Thanks to my husband for taking the barking dog for a walk. Thanks when a stranger makes a bit of room for me on the hiking trail. Thanks to God that the air fills my lungs, that mountain goats exist, that I have two eyes to see the miracle that is Lake Louise.

“No worries,” say the Canadians. “De nada,” my boys are learning when they do their home-school Spanish app. “You’re welcome,” I have learned to say.

I don’t know what language God uses to reply to our thanks, or how to translate it. It does seem, though, that God’s “no worries,” God’s “you’re welcome,” can be seen in the endless blessings that get revealed when we’ve grown eyes to recognize them more and more, bit by bit. Our gratitude reveals all the more reasons for gratitude. A flood. A feast.

The pull on the end of my 9-year old’s fly-rod: his first cutthroat trout. 

The smile of a friend as we back our camper into their driveway, road-weary and laundry-needy. 

The sigh of the dog as she settles in for a snooze on my bed, right where my legs are supposed to go. 

No worries. Just grace upon grace. 

Thank you, Lord.

Kate Kooyman

Kate is a minister of the Reformed Church in America who serves in the Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

6 Comments

  • Daniel Meeter says:

    You’ve opened a lovely window with this.

  • Fred Mueller says:

    Thank you for moments of refreshment from this delightful article. From one world class worrier to another, “No worries!”

  • Daniel Meeter says:

    Spending as much time in Canada as I do, and being stiff and rigid, I haven’t liked “No worries” for “You’re welcome,” but you have rescued it for me. I till don’t like, “No problem.” It’s your point about the worry within the “thank you” that is so insightful.

  • Lou Roossien says:

    ‘Thank you’, Kate. You remind me to pay attention to my growing Life-Thanks list of people who have been redemptive in my life. And of people in my life with chronic, serious reasons to worry… And you remind me of my desktop view of Lake Louise which makes me think/say ‘No Worries’… and also wish that Linda and I could still hike again with young legs… No Worries.

  • Helen P says:

    I’m bothered by the response to “thank you” being “no worries” as if your comment was a bother…it’s an improper response to a proper expression of gratitude when someone helps you or gives you useful information in response to a question.

    I think the far better response is either, “It is my pleasure” or “You’re most welcome.”

    …but then I am somewhat old fashioned.

  • RLG says:

    Thanks, Kate, for your positive article. What a world this would be if all people lived from such a positive perspective. But it seems naïve for people to be continually thankful. For one, there is so much to be unthankful for. For instance, who do we thank for the hurricane (Dorian) that destroyed so much of the Bahamas. And who do the residents thank for the loss of their homes and loved ones. Don’t the insurance companies refer to such devastating storms as an act of God? I suppose it’s also a bit unrealistic to be normally positive, when according to the Bible all people (even Christians) have been given a fallen sinful nature, as an expression of God’s judgement on Adam and Eve. So doesn’t that mean, a fallen humanity (which includes Christians) is naturally ungrateful?

    Hey, this gratitude and positivity thing is good. But without some balance, it could seem naïve. But I agree, life is so much more meaningful when we see it through the lens of gratitude. Thanks, Kate.

Leave a Reply