Recently, I was shopping a consignment store to which I bring some gently used items. I’ve never taken a check from this store but rather, get some “new” items for my house. Until a month ago, I never purchased a gift this way. But, there I was shopping – not really for anything in particular but then, it caught my eye! A little Longaberger basket with a sweet Irish cloth of four leaf clovers as a liner. It even had a green knob and clover charm. I just knew I had to get it for my friend! So, I did.
What I had forgotten was that her birthday was coming up! So, I sent off the basket with a little note just saying I thought of her when I saw it and wanted her to have it. I knew she’d appreciate the gesture. And, it made me feel good to do something both nice but also unexpected for someone I care about but do not see often.
She got the basket and was thrilled, thinking it a birthday present. (Remember, though, I forgot it was her birthday). But, she relayed a story I had forgotten about as well – that when they lived here, as our neighbors, I had visited her on her birthday when she happened to be spending it alone. I had brightened her day, all those years ago, and she remembered that moment! Wow! I think I was the one who received the gift of knowing I had taken the time to think of someone else and have it remembered!
This has happened to me as well – on a couple of occasions. One was when I received a tea pot infuser, mug, and some specialty tea in the mail from another dear friend! This was totally unexpected, not near my birthday or anniversary, or any other milestone we might have previously shared together. It just came to my house, beautifully wrapped, and surprised me with love and kindness.
Recently, I was given the gift of attending an event that would be of benefit to me professionally. It was an unexpected offer, again of kindness and generosity. This time, however, it was a gift from only an acquaintance not a dear friend. I was touched and accepted, greatly benefiting from my attendance at this event.
The basket, the tea, and the event invitation have all given me pause this past week. I realize that you need to work at friendships. Receiving, or even giving, an unexpected gift is something that can bring both participants joy and a feeling of being loved and appreciated by their fellow humans. If you need to feel uplifted, try giving someone a gift – it doesn’t have to be physical like the ones I gave or received. It can be the gift of time, talents, energy, sustenance, or even a kind word or two. When you give of yourself, you receive many times more back in return. I will remain forever grateful for those unexpected gifts that I gave as well as received.