In this time of great joy, togetherness, and celebration know just how much even the smallest act of kindness and goodwill can mean to those around you.
The truth is most of us go into the holidays with very mixed emotions. We celebrate all the blessings we have been given with the loved ones who are still in our lives but we also struggle to cope with the loss of those who are no longer with us or the distance that separates us from them.
The holidays are a plethora of emotions for many of us.
My family is very small and most of my loved ones have passed. Quite frankly, our celebrations are a fragment of the extraordinary ones of my earlier years. I continue to remind myself how fortunate I was to have truly magical Christmases for most of my life. So many were not that fortunate.
This holiday season has been an especially tough one in many ways. But last Friday, thanks to the generosity of a beautiful friend/colleague, I was invited to an annual business luncheon that draws several thousand of New Orleans’ great leaders. Among those, at least a dozen of the most beautiful businesswomen-friends in my life.
We all hugged and kissed and rejoiced in the few precious moments of just being all together amid the hubbub of the season. Among them, was a fabulous feisty spitfire of a friend that just energizes the room the minute she walks in.
We hugged and kissed and laughed at our mutual choices of bright-red dresses for the occasion. I teased her about sporting her cool “bling” – a rhinestone-studded giant pearl on a long dropped chain. It was so her. Sparkly, playful, and totally undeniable.
I was taken aback when she pulled it off and placed it around my neck.
I carried the warm glow of that sweet act through the rest of the afternoon – reaching down several times just to hold the giant bobble in my hand.
How can some people just be so good? How can they know how much a simple act can mean?
After being gone for many hours, I arrived home at the start of the weekend. I prepared myself for another quiet “happy hour” alone in my home. Something I’ve finally grown to accept.
Living in a city with no family around can be very tough during leisure time – but especially at holiday time. People are so distracted. You become invisible.
But this “happy hour” proved to be the most challenging of all. While cruising through social media for at least a little bit of social connection, I stumbled upon news I wasn’t prepared for. I had lost a close family member 5 hours earlier. No one had called.
The shock of finding out this way was overwhelming. And I was alone. A couple of phone calls from distant friends got me through it.
Along with the necklace.
With it still draped around my neck, I held the big bobble in my hand for hours as the tears fell on it. I looked at all those sparkly “diamonds” – all encompassing a giant “pearl”. I realized all those multi-faceted diamonds represented the beautiful people who have supported me through this rather tumultuous year and that the pearl represented the amazing richness of my life.
In that moment of extreme loneliness, I realized just how many sparkling people I have in my life to be thankful for.
Especially this time of year, it’s easy to focus on what we have lost and what we don’t have – but we still are blessed.
That one simple act of spontaneous kindness meant the world to me in such a time of need.
I hope that, as you rejoice with all those around you, you will please take a moment to reach out to someone who may not be blessed with the extra love and support you enjoy. There are so many people this holiday season who are living through quiet and private moments of desperation, loneliness, and sadness.
One quick phone call or a simple drop-by visit from you can mean the world to them. Trust me. We all desperately need extra connection at times. And it’s not always obvious.
[bctt tweet=”We all desperately need extra connection at times. And it’s not always obvious.”]
Think about your neighbors, your office mates, or the shopkeeper you see every week.
[bctt tweet=”What small act of connection or kindness can you share today?“]