The Gift of Friendship

The best gift is the surprise gift. Not the kind of surprise that jumps out of dark closets and clobbers you with balloons being held by the loudest versions of your closest friends though. The most wonderful and gentle kind of surprise comes bearing gifts you didn’t know you wanted. 

In the past week, I finished my last day of my job, flew myself South to help my grandma move, and entered into the chaos of her world. Her world is filled with slowly unpacking and moving and removing and arranging and rearranging all of the items she’s held onto for her 79 years of life.

My effort to bring order to the chaos of vases, notepads, cooking utensils, and Christmas decorations fell into the sea of unpacked Rubbermaid tubs forming bulky islands across my grandma’s living room floor.  I was starting to feel bad for the kitchen counter, which had been suffocating under clutter for at least a week.

So after helping move, I left grandma to visit a friend and mentor—and meet with her team at work. My full day of meeting new people, sharing ideas, and being ‘on’ left me wondering how much more energy I could muster.  But after dinner, we arrived at my friend’s home and I experienced two surprising gifts—giving me new found mojo. 

The first.  Oh. My. Gosh. It was organized. Things were in place.  It was as if Christmas had just visited and only left it’s glowy lights in every corner giving off warmth.  The counter was clear.  The bathroom was mine.  And I didn’t have to push anything out of the way to make space for me.  Everything was thoughtfully placed and exactly where it needed to be.  Realizing how much I like my world somewhat orderly, the gift of perfectly lit organized space slowed me down in all the ways I needed to be slowed down.   

The second gift came in the form of words. This friend has known me since the 10th grade.  She was the first one to claim leadership as something I did and had.  She spent years teaching me and giving me a solid leadership foundation.  After meeting with her team and leading through some communication issues they had been experiencing, she said the simple but powerful words: I am proud of you.

I was good.  In 2 brief unexpected moments I had intentional order to my world and the loving encouragement of someone who spent years building into me. My shoulders unscrunched and I could now rest my weary head.  Here’s to you finding a surprise gift today.

Love, Hanna


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