No. 304: A Misguided Card.

In the rain yesterday, I struggled to find the function to use to turn on the car’s headlights. I reached to the glovebox to find the car’s manual, and inside I found card-sized, white envelope. Flipping the card over, I found that it was addressed to a gentleman in a nearby down. Inside was a heartfelt Father’s Day card, addressing the man. In perfect cursive, it read: “I am so proud of  the man and father you have become. I love you, Mom.”

This card felt wrong to hold on to, or to stash away into the glove box again. Such a sincere sentiment needed to be shared with the intended recipient, so I inserted a note inside about how I came across the card, placed a stamp on the letter, and felt peaceful knowing this mother’s beautiful words would indeed be heard by the right person.

I’m grateful to have encountered them along the way. Thank you for allowing me to be the messenger to help the card along.

No. 303: Insurance.

Things to Be Thankful For

  • Be thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means you have enough to eat.
  • Be thankful for the mess you clean up after a party, because it means you have been surrounded by friends.
  • Be thankful for the taxes you pay, because it means you’re employed.
  • Be thankful that your lawn needs mowing and your windows need fixing, because it means you have a home.
  • Be thankful for your heating bill, because it means you are warm.
  • Be thankful for the laundry, because it means you have clothes to wear.
  • Be thankful for the space you find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means you can walk.
  • Be thankful for the lady who sings off-key behind you in church, because it means you can hear.
  • Be thankful when people complain about the government, because it means we have freedom of speech.
  • Be thankful for the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means you’re alive.

Taken from Ann Landers’ 11/22/01 column.

It was absent minded, stupid, embarrassing… you name it.

I backed into my neighbor’s mailbox today.

I wasn’t distracted, nor texting, or on my phone. Just plain turned in too early on the K-turn I need to make to back into my driveway. The mailbox fared well: a little jiggy on the left side, which I immediately offered to repair. The car, not so much. A shattered back left tiny window, a scratch. It was no bueno, mi amigos.

What I’d like to mention are three things:
1. I did not cry.
2. I did not panic.
3. These are both unlike me.

I cry at commercials. Show me one youtube video of a veteran returning to her/his dog and I’m weepy. I also am the daughter of an insurance agent, which means that I hear only horror stories ever, and I panic when said horror stories occur to me.

But I remembered the above quote, read to me at a yoga class just yesterday. And as I cleaned up the broken glass, bagged off the window, and got myself to work on time: I had to laugh and be grateful. I am thankful to pay this deductible, because it means I have insurance. I am thankful to have this minor accident, because it means that I have a car. I am thankful I had to tell Larry and Janey about their mailbox, because it meant my ego was the only thing bruised. I am thankful that I was shaken, because it means I walked away more grateful to be the alive.

Listen: I am not happy to part with my deductible. But my insurance company has been wonderful. The auto body shop bumped me to the top of the list for repairs when I told them I would be roadtripping into Montreal with my sister exactly a week from today. And I read a marvelous book in which the protagonist had a dog named Daisy that needed to be put down and oh, that would be a million, hundred thousand times worse.

I am grateful for my greatest struggle of the day being my own absent-mindedness, resulting in a new car part and wiggly mailbox.

No. 301: Beth.

 Earlier this week, I was interacting with some of my campers. One had doll sunglasses and I encouraged her to hold them by one arm so they could be opera glasses. “You know, the kind fancy ladies wear! I’ve always wanted a pair of those,” I commented. “Wouldn’t they look so cool on a shelf, even?” I had thought of my favorite chapters of Age of Innocence, and the Metropolitain Opera.

Friday came around, and I got an email from the front desk that I had a delivery from UPS. It was from Amazon, which was curious, since I had not ordered anything recently. I opened the box, and there was a pair of beautiful opera glasses- hot pink!- in a black velvet drawstring bag.

Initially I could not find any note, but finally, there it was: Beth C. One of our wonderful advancement staff, whose daughter I had directed last year. “Thank you for all your hard work,” the note read. Beth had overheard the conversation and decided to gift me this beautiful pair of glasses.

When I went to thank her in her office, Beth was embarassed. She wanted it to be an anonymous surprise gift, she said. And that speaks volumes about the kind of person Beth is. She puts good into our workplace without ever wanting, nor expecting, any credit. She simply wants others to know they are appreciated.  

This speaks volumes about Beth and the quiet, beautiful leadership she embodies. She lifts up others, celebrates them, never expecting to receive the same treatment herself. 

Beth, your quiet leadership is so valued. I am so grateful to be a park of a workplace in which gestures like those you initiate are the norm. Thank you for being the friend, colleague, and leader you are!