Gratitiude

Five years ago, a few months after Gabe died, there was a work pot luck. I brought something for the event, but after all the food was laid out, I found it so overwhelming to be in the company of so many, and so I I took my food and I went back to my desk and ate there.

A few minutes after I left, a colleague arrived. She pulled up a chair and sat next to me. She smiled and said “I thought I would join you so you didn’t feel alone. You don’t have to talk. This must be hard for you. “

I could have cried from the kindness of it.

It was such a simple, such a small gesture. I think that she doesn’t remember it any longer, it was so natural for her and yet it meant so very much to me. It was a life preserver on a stormy sea, a reminder that even in my broken state I had worth and was cared for.

It was so simple and yet, even if she doesn’t remember it, I do. It stays with me. It is the most profound and object lesson in my life about how very simple and small things can be such great things.

I belonged to an organization that used the True Colours personality assessments. There are effectively 4 types of people. I am Green and Gold with a bit of orange, which means that I am a thinker, I am organized and driven and I’m not such a details person.

The one thing I didn’t score highly on was the blue segment – these are the empaths, the sensitive types, the feelers and the care-ers. That didn’t used to be me – eve a little bit. It’s still not – I still bowl my way past and over people far too often. I am a get it done, get out of my way sort of person.

But, tonight, as I sent thank you notes to the team I am leading, I thought of Tara, the woman who sat next to me. I thought of how very much it meant and I took the 25 minutes extra to make sure that I said thank you. Not just thank you, but thank you in a very specific way, one that reflected what was important to those people and honoured their contributions, individually.

And this really isn’t me patting myself on the back. At least, I don’t intend for it to be that.

Really, this is more about me thanking Tara. For that time she sat next to me, but also for the lesson it taught me about caring. For this lesson: that the most powerful things we can do for each other are those moments when we think most of the other person, acknowledge their humanity, what makes them special and what matters to them and then we come along side and we hold that up.

So Tara, I know I sent you a note years ago to say thanks. To let you know how much it mattered to me. That’s how I know that you didn’t remember what you did. I just wanted you to know, it mattered then and it still matters now.

This entry was posted in Learning Life. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Gratitiude

  1. loribeth says:

    A little kindness can go such a long, long way. And we don’t ever forget it, do we?

  2. a says:

    I wonder how people develop this ability to know what other people need. I can sometimes do it, for everyday things, but when it’s most important, I totally choke. Maybe those True Colors seminars should be suspended in favor of “How to Exercise Empathy.”

  3. a says:

    I wonder how people develop this ability to know what other people need. I can sometimes do it, for everyday things, but when it’s most important, I totally choke. Maybe those True Colors seminars should be suspended in favor of “How to Exercise Empathy.”

  4. HereWeGoAJen says:

    I really like this. Sometimes the small gestures can be the most important and the kindest. I have been trying to be one of those kinds of people.

  5. Erica says:

    I love your colleague. I think so many people freeze in the face of grief and don’t know what to do, but this is precisely the kind of simple but brave and thoughtful thing that resonates for years.

  6. Gloria says:

    I’ll always remember the day you sat next to me and comforted me. You’ve got some blue in there 😉

  7. debby says:

    We never know what seeds are planted when we do a kind thing. The seeds that Tara planted all those years ago have taken root in a very beautiful way.

  8. Reese says:

    I just completed a training course, taking the same assessment. I was one of the two blues in the class of 80. Everyone was green or gold.

    I am glad you went on a limb and wrote her a specific note. I’m sure it meant a lot to her….

  9. Gail says:

    What a good reminder that there is good and caring people out there. And, it was nice of you to thank her with a note.

  10. Denver Laura says:

    About a decade ago, I was laid off. I was young, thought I was invencible and all in one moment, was part of a herd leaving the office with an entire career in a paper box.

    I was going around to all of my co-workers to let them know why I wasn’t going to show up at the next meeting or answer their phone calls. Just saying good-bye, it was nice working with you. I was holding my tears back. One lady, honestly I barely knew her name, didn’t say a word. She just gave me a hug. It was an understanding and empathy that I remember to this day.

    I just hope that one day I can make that kind of impact on somebody. It might be a small gesture to me, but a huge gift to them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *