Have you ever been given a gift that you loved and cherished for years? What was that gift and why was it so special? Over time I’ve received several “treasures” that made an incredible impact on me. These memorable gifts brought so much joy and meaning to my life that I considered them to be priceless.
Years ago, I’d been invited to a get together at my friend’s house. Sue’s subtle hospitality made everyone feel so comfortable and welcome in her lovely home. Warm chatter and spontaneous laughter was part of the evening as well as plenty of tasty appetizers and a variety of drinks. Sue paid attention to every detail.
That evening as the foyer was filled with departing guests, I happened to glance up at a plaque that hung above the front door. What I saw resonated with me to the point of chills. Staring at the words: ”Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God,” directly spoke to me. Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, I stood there for several minutes while other guests left.
For years I’d been working 80-90 hours a week as an SRVP. Back then it seemed that the more time spent at work, the more successful you were. I couldn’t have been more wrong and I knew it, yet wasn’t sure how to slow things down. For me to sit in silence and do nothing felt so alien to me, yet I desperately longed for this quiet time. By now Sue had joined me in the foyer and we chatted about the beautiful piece.
What happened next was a total surprise. Sue reached up, took the plaque down and handed it to me. “Here, you take this and enjoy it.” I was so moved by such a kind gesture that I went home and immediately placed it on the fireplace mantel. This selfless act which took a matter of minutes would serve as a focal point and constant reminder for me to this day.
This thoughtful act of giving was as powerful as the message it carried. Even on days when everything seemed to be loud and when clamor and chaos tried to take over, Sue’s gift helped me with a specific need. I learned to be kinder to myself and to allow my body to recharge. Rest and solitude had a major impact as well as making time for others became the norm. Daily the words were read and served two-fold: as constant reminder for me to slow down and to remember the giver, who gave without the expectation of anything in return.
In the novel, “All That I Had” it was Catherine who tried her best and did what she could for her family. In difficult times her selfless act of giving such a precious and priceless treasure made the story moving and unforgettable. There’s no doubt that tokens of love are the most valuable gifts a person can give. They are treasures of the heart.
As we enter a new year, it’s an opportunity for new beginnings. If you haven’t already done so, consider giving as part of your routine. Big or small gestures, be ready to witness the positive effects for you and for the recipient!
Don’t wait for special occasions to give-you can apply them to everyday interactions just like Sue did.
Years have passed and just over Christmas I reunited with this dear friend. Sue reached out to place a book order for friends and family. It was such a treat to speak with her and remember what Sue’s thoughtful act of kindness had done for me.
Thank you, friends, for taking the time to read my article. Please be safe, take care of one another, and know how important each of you are to me.
Happiest of New Year,
This article is dedicated to Sue who exemplifies the meaning of “Friend.”