It’s easy to love the grand gesture. I’ll never say No to heartfelt generosity–at least as long as I don’t think the giver will be harmed by my acceptance–knowing how much it pleases me to know that others enjoy my gifts. But more than anything, it’s the smaller, maybe more intimate, maybe just more spontaneous, things that truly move me.
Sometimes amid the siege of an endless conference or workshop, a silently knowing meeting of eyes across the room is all it takes to get me through the whole rest of the event. Or it might be that one light pat on the shoulder as two of us pass each other hurriedly in the hall. The warm smile from the lady I met only last week that says she already names me Friend.
It’s certainly the one person who gently asks after the status of my current concern, whether it’s an upcoming test or finishing an important project or, especially, the health and happiness of my loved ones. That moment of being willing to ask, and of quietly listening to my reply, speaks volumes of kindness that wrap my heart and spirits in petitions and repetitions of comfort. And when words fail or have no place, there is the silent embrace of a gracious and caring friend.
To all of you who practice these beautiful arts, I say, Thank You. It means the world that you do, even–maybe, particularly–when we who are on the receiving end of the exchange have no words or gestures of our own with which to respond and express our gratitude properly. The best that we can hope is that, borne up and our way made brighter by their light, we’ll be made strong and peaceful enough ourselves to pass along the gift to someone else who may not even know he was in need. Someday we, too, will be the one who asks.