On Saturday night, I took this (poorly angled) photo in the bathroom on the outskirts of a work Christmas party. It was my last-ditch attempt to talk myself into going, and I needed to see the earrings as a reminder.
It was my husband’s Christmas party, and I wanted to be there for him. But it also should have been the Christmas party of someone I’ve loved for my entire life. Someone with whom, just last year at the same Christmas party, I’d laughed, sipped (guzzled) drinks, and taken goofy pictures at the photo booth. Someone who would not be there this year. Someone who had just passed away — unfairly, unexpectedly, incomprehensibly. My uncle.
My hubby and I made these earrings as a small gesture. At this party, we wanted to honor him somehow for our family — for his children, his fiancee, his mama — for all of us. Earrings weren’t enough, but nothing would have been enough. They were just the only tribute I knew I could carry around everywhere that night.
So I talked myself into leaving the bathroom and entering the party. I plastered on a smile. I genuinely wanted to appreciate the colleagues who’d loved him — the bosses, the peers, the mentees, and the daily passersby for whom he had made a difference. But very quickly, it was time to go home. I am a human ball of emotion, and it was just too fresh for me.
On my way out the door, I ran into a woman who probably had no idea just how low I was feeling. I don’t think we had ever really spoken before. With a happy grin — a genuine, warm, lovely smile — she stopped me. And immediately, she SHOWERED me with compliments. She made me feel beautiful. She made me feel appreciated. She made me feel like she had nothing better in the world to do than to talk with me. And when she saw the earrings, she offered heartfelt condolences.
It felt like she meant every word. I may not know her yet, but I choose to trust deeply in that kind of kindness. In a world that’s so divided, and in a world that’s so often doubtful of those who are NICE, I cling to kindness. I’m sure she had no idea that I was theoretically clinging to her words in that moment, just to stay upright.
And this, my friends, was also a God Wink. Anyone who knew my uncle would have described him as GENUINE. KIND. WARM. And this lovely woman gave me all of those gifts in a moment when I really needed them. She gave me reminders of him.
She had no idea how much her kindness would mean to me in that moment. She had no way of knowing that those sweet, sincere words would make all the difference to me that night. She was just doing what all of us should do. She was acting out of kindness first. Just like my sweet (and, yes, ornery) uncle always did.
It’s as simple as this: affable thoughts came to her mind, and she was eager to let them out. That’s how it should be, right? Those words just GUSHED out of her.
So, Lord, let us all be GUSHERS OF KINDNESS. Oh, what a wonderful world it would be. And what a beautiful way to honor those gone too soon — those whose smiles, whose genuine hearts, whose kindness should always be remembered.
This is the way I want to live. So, should we go gush some warmth and kindness together?