It Was Just A Simple Thing


“People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”  Dr. Thomas L. Garthwaite, Under Secretary of Health.

“We all have different gifts, based on the grace given us… If it is encouraging, devote yourself to encouraging others.” Romans 12:6-8
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thess. 5:11
“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25

The other day my family and I were revisiting the events of this Christmas and discussing our favourite memories/gifts etc.  I tend to really enjoy the simple moments, like the evening of the last day of school for my guys – we all sat around the Christmas tree and ate pizza and caught up on the week’s event.   Another moment was when we gathered to go to bed on Christmas Eve and read from the Bible, Luke Chapter 2.

With the pending new year, Christmas 2013 is virtually over and my mind turns to the follow up – or shall I say the clean-up that will ensue.  This is always the saddest part of the holiday, as we pack away “old friends” like the nutcrackers and the special tree ornaments.  This year, I was given a new friend, one I will cherish for years to come. It was a simple thing and a kind and unexpected gesture…and it came from someone I do not even know that well.

You see, the week before Christmas as I sat in my office intently dealing with some work drama I heard a light tap on my office door.  There stood one of my colleagues, a talented young man carrying a small bag in his hand.  Quiet and polite to the extreme, he asked if he could come in.

“Of course, I said, what can I do for you?”  He handed me the bag as he explained that he and his wife had been visiting one of our famous chapels in the city and had bought something for me.

“For me?” I asked why.

My friend shared that they saw it at the chapel gift shop and thought I would like it.  It was a thanks for the kindness I had shown them in the past and the encouragement they had received from reading this blog. (Shock!  Who knew he was reading it, right)? Eagerly I opened the gift and saw a beautiful wooden dove; the dove of peace.  How appropriate, as the card attached indicated it was painted by widows who had lost their husbands in war-torn Columbia, South America.  I was taken aback, slightly embarrassed but also deeply moved by the thoughtful gesture.  I thanked my colleague, asked if I could give him a quick hug (which is not appropriate for his Indian culture, but the only way I could express myself in my tongue-tied moment).  He blushed and nodded and allowed my awkward embrace 😉

As soon as I arrived home that evening, I hung the dove in a window in my sun room, where she could preside over the Christmas festivities in the household. I enjoyed seeing her there these past few weeks.  This morning while pondering our clean-up task ahead, I revisited my new friend the dove and was reminded of something my husband and I have taught our children.  The actions we take in our lives can be like the rhythms of a pond. Our choice will affect others, both positively and negatively. We can choose to make soft ripples, carrying one another along gently or stir up fierce waves and sink one another.

My colleague and his wife do not know the impact their random act of kindness had on me.  It was not anything that was ever said.  The gift was in their actions.  Indeed it was a small gesture, but one that will reverberate soft encouraging ripples into my heart for years to come…and each year when my South American dove comes out to “fly” in the sun room at Christmas time,  I will fondly remember my colleague and his wife and the sweetness their gift gave me…

Huh, I guess it really wasn’t just a simple thing after all. 🙂


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