It's already September and today I started working on one of my big Halloween projects for Miss Mint. I'm brainstorming Thanksgiving crafts and I have a growing list of Christmas ideas but the one thing I keep coming back to is that I want to begin a tradition of giving and thankfulness this year. I want my children to grow up remembering the excitement of baking & decorating cookies then feeling that engulfing sense of love and joy when they gave them away. Or the adrenaline rush as they tip toed a surprise gift to a front door and rang the doorbell before sprinting away, giggling with anticipation and glowing with excitement!
Then there are the hard gifts to give. The ones you got so excited about making for a friend you love so much but for whatever reason, the moment they are complete - and are more gorgeous than you had envisioned - you feel shy about delivering them. What do you say when you give it to them? What if the gift gives the wrong impression? What if your intention is misread? What if you appear shallow for giving a temporal item and not your time or service? My fellow female readers will understand me when I say that our "girl rules" mean we have more to pay attention to than just the obvious codes of social etiquette. So why would I pause at delivering a thoughtful gift made with all the love I could pour into it?
Because the recipients are facing something I have never, and pray to not ever, experience in my life. And yet, when I know they would want to have their friends closest, I feel this sudden shyness about bothering them, interrupting their day and taking away from their time.
Good friends bring out the best in you and I am so grateful that I have a friend who has experienced things I have not and who can give the best advice for such situations: GO. E-mail, talk, visit, drop off cards, letters & gifts; give support and hugs, call & listen, offer to help with specifics - not just make vague, general promises that you can be called on at any time - but really look for where you can help out and then do it. You won't be stepping on anyone's toes, you'll be answering prayers. (And probably doing the only kind thing for that person all week.) You won't be wasting anyone's time, you'll be saving them hours. And you won't offend with a gift, no matter how small, because it will be a tangible reminder that they are surrounded by friends who will go to the end of the earth with them and then carry them back home. Just go and act. It's wanted, needed and appreciated.
To everyone reading this, let me share that the smallest gestures are more than wanted and that you wouldn't believe how heartbreaking it is when everyone shies away, afraid to say or do the wrong thing, and unkowingly do the absolute worst thing: ignore.
If you love them, step in (or break in if you have to!) and show that you will brave scary feelings and frightening situations with them, cry alongside them, bake double batches of cupcakes and pack three times as many school lunches to ensure your friends aren't left wanting and needing. Anything you can think of will be perfect and honestly, you simply cannot go wrong with whatever you lovingly give!
Kels, I'm so sorry that I lived minutes away from you in Kingwood in 2004 and didn't know you. We have been close since the moment we met and I wish that moment had been at a baby shower years earlier. But the things you have shared with me have really changed my character and although I wasn't there with you, I won't be hesitant about approaching those that need friends, comfort and companionship because of what I have learned from you. Perhaps one day I will get over my hesitation and shyness but thank you for giving me new perspective. For the rest of my life I'll never be able to be a quiet observer. I'll always go and do.