Earlier this week a colleague stopped in my office, coat on and keys in hand she said, “I’m heading out to run errands and thought I’d pick up your favorite Starbucks coffee. Would you write it down for me, cause’ I’ll never remember it.” Surprised, I asked what the occasion was. “Nothing really, just a little something I know I can do that will brighten your day. It’s my way of showing I appreciate all you do.” Wow. How cool is that? Of course I’m like, no, no you don’t have to, really it’s ok. In the end I just gave her my decaf-tall-one-and-a-half pump soy mocha order, a big hug and decided to just accept and experience the warm fuzzies.
My colleagues actions and a story I’d recently read by Rev. Dr. Noel Frederick McInnis inspired me to write this post. Dr. McInnis shares:
“Because appreciation of others’ services is a value that so many persons fail to honor fully, a professor ended his midterm exam with the question, ‘What is the first name of the woman who cleans our classroom?’ When asked how this question was pertinent, he replied, ‘During your life you will meet many persons whose value deserves your caring attention, even if all you do is smile and say hello.'”
We are individual representations of Spirit made manifest on the Earth. Here we are provided the opportunity to be grateful for all that is presented before us each new day, the challenges, learning lessons, abundance, diverse personalities and most of all the opportunity to show appreciation for these diverse experiences and people walking along with us on our life paths. Reverend McInnis continues with:
“As any real estate agent or property assessor will tell you, the word appreciation means ‘increase of value.’ Thus when one receives another’s appreciation, one’s sense of self-evaluation is increased. And given life’s mirroring of our thoughts, our own sense of self-valuation also is correspondingly increased as we extend our appreciation others.” Feb. SOM p. 42
A daily practice modeled by my mother, I make the effort to recognize each person I may come in contact with over the course of a day, just stopping for a moment or two to inquire after a family member or activity I know they might participate in, sometimes to thank them for help they provided earlier in the week or that day. This practice doesn’t take all that long and connects us as Spirit one to another. Throughout the years my mother faithfully wrote in my birthday or Christmas cards, “To my joy and comfort, love you, Mom.” She was showing her appreciation.
Honestly, I didn’t get it. Where had I provided joy and comfort? I never asked and she never said. Only recently did I finally understand. After school every day I’d walk in and ask, “How was your day?” This was something I had learned from her. She often asked us kids about our days events, a neighbor about her children or inquired about a work colleague’s parent. She went out of her way to connect with others. Something special I remember growing up…at night before going to bed, she and I would sit and read together at the kitchen table over a cup of tea, sometimes taking time between chapters to share things on our mind. We were connected, appreciative of both each other and these quiet moments together. It brought both of us joy and comfort. Now I get it.
Who do you walk alongside with each day that you can offer joy and comfort with words of appreciation or recognition? How can you incorporate this as a mindful practice into day-to-day living? We are more than this…
“There is no such thing as a simple act of compassion or an inconsequential act of service. Everything we do for another person has infinite consequences.” ~ Caroline Myss