When the thieves who broken into my house finally opened up my jewellery box to see what they got, I wonder what they made of the odd things I kept. A very tiny shard of china. A single earring. A button. A scrap of paper torn from a poster. Things that have absolutely no extrinsic or even intrinsic value. They are nothing more than touch points. Small and visible pieces of a larger whole. The ultimate in intimacies – things only I know about. I couldn’t even explain to anyone why they had meaning.
Rather like the jewellery box, which housed pearls and an engagement ring, my box of compliments houses both the obvious and the obscure. The incredibly smart and famous mathematician who called me a high energy particle. The friend who said “I knew you’d know to call.” And last week.
The business partner on a project, as we wrapped things up on a project, who took the time to tell me “it goes better when we take care of each other, and you took care of us.”
Not the obvious compliment about my competence or my ability to lead. Something more intimate. Something that matters in the very heart of who I am. So I carefully tucked it in the box as a thing that was precious.
I thought of it yesterday, as I took care of myself. Was gentle, was kind. Didn’t wait or expect for anyone to do this. If we take care of others, surely we can take care of ourselves?