Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I get by with a little help from my friends

People are nice. It’s really heartwarming when you stop to think about all the wonderful people on this good earth. Yes, there are the sad ones who hurt others and get featured on the evening news. Someone may not have treated them so well and they make the poor choice to continue the cycle. Evil is hard to understand and it can be depressing, but if we let them bring us down, they’ve gotten the best of us…and that’s what they want.

Yes, sometimes it’s hard, but for my own sanity I choose to dwell on the good people. It’s healthy to stop and take notice of all the good around us, especially when it’s so easy to see the negative. We all have our go-to people, family and friends, the ones who comfort us when we need a hug, some reassurance or a few kind words. And it’s important to be there for others when they need us. All in all, it’s more gratifying when it’s a give-and-take situation. But for me, the best is always when you least expect it.

This happened for me last week. I was at work when my personal phone rang in a meeting and I saw a close friend was calling. She never calls during the work day…we have our reserved times to chat. My gut instinct was that it was an important call. I knew that I should wait to listen to the message and call her back. I had two more meetings to get through.

My instinct was spot on. After the meetings, I braced myself to listen to the voicemail. My friend’s voice was solemn and the brief message requested a call back. No chirpy update. I just knew. I called her back and heard that our dear friend had lost her battle with cancer. Flooded with emotion, I ran into a work acquaintance in the hall that I had just met the week before. She could tell something was troubling me. We stopped and chatted. She listened and expressed her sympathy. And she shared that she had not too long ago lost her father. She shared how difficult it was and how she had cared for him. It was a warm conversation with someone I barely knew. We hugged at the end and I felt better for having talked with her. I had a few other interactions with co-workers before the end of the day. Everyone had kind words of comfort. I was glad to know all these people were there.

Next morning I arrived to start the new work day. And here’s what greeted me at my desk:

A mason jar filled with summer beauty, nestled in exquisite napkins in a hand-cut paper bag. Accompanying the flowers, a homemade card featuring a stunning photograph of more floral beauty, one of my own favorite things to snap.

“Memories, Laughter, and Love” on the front. And inside: “May they comfort you during this difficult time. Thinking of you.” Signed on the inside and back by the beautiful artist who created this warm and thoughtful gift to me.

Who was this from? Who took such time and care to comfort me? This was all from the person I had just met last week.

People are good. People are kind. That thoughtful gesture meant so much to me. All week, it touches my heart over and over.

And this is just one example of the kindness all around us that we are fortunate to witness every day. There are many special people who make differences in our lives, big and small.

As I’m sure you do, I cherish the different friends I have for different reasons. All it takes is one connection to create a friendship. We have our friends from our past and present, from all walks of life, from everywhere we’ve been. It’s exciting to never really know who we’ll be back in contact with and when. With social networking opportunities now in front of us, we can reconnect with those we’ve never forgotten, but life just happened and got in the way. Easier than ever, opportunity abounds to rekindle friendships and grow new relationships. A former casual acquaintance can now be someone you enjoy touching base with online on almost a daily basis. A friend or relative on the other side of the world is now just a few keystrokes away. Amazing technology enriches our lives.

And our everyday personal encounters, face-to-face interactions, are the capstone of our friendship spectrum. Nothing is better than knowing someone cares about you and will be there for you if you need them and they want you there for them, too. And it’s even nicer when it’s someone you least expected.

So you know what they say about paying it forward. This act of kindness I experienced last week is sticking with me for a reason. I’m meant to seek an opportunity to pay the kindness forward. Don’t know when or what that is yet, but what I know is true is that we all get by with a little help from our friends (thank you, Beatles). Looking forward to realizing what opportunity awaits me to make a small difference in someone’s life. As Martha says, it's a good thing. I only hope I can be as thoughtful.

Until next time, yours in fun and friendship…Therese


  1. Therese, what a beautiful story. I'm so sorry for your loss. Yet,the followup story of the flowers and card made me smile. The person who created the beautiful gift to you is certainly open to the needs of other people. You, too, will find a way to pay this lovely act forward.

  2. Thanks, Jamar. Yes, this person was thoughtful, very much like my friend who passed. She also loved flowers and was an avid gardener. This gift made me smile on many levels and was a nice reminder of my friend. Yes, I will find a way.