|An attack of kisses. |
Photo by Jared Bluestein
You toss a smile in the direction of a new person, loan someone a piece of garb, thank someone for their service, offer a word of encouragement, give people a chance to vent, lend a hand to cleaning, assist with a task, lead by example and you move on. Perhaps you receive a murmured 'thank you' or a smile in return, but mostly, you think no more on it. What you do not see immediately are the ripples that your words and deeds leave.
For me this was a strange weekend, because I was made to stand in place and have the ripples of my words and deeds pointed out to me, again and again. I was told to listen, told to see and I did. It was passing odd and a humbling experience. I was thanked and complimented by people whom I deeply respect, friends I have known for many years, those who I am still getting to know and also by several I have only recently met. It was a strange experience that left me teary eyed at times and often without any word of response other than a shocked and mumbled 'thank you'.
Compliments of any kind make me rather uncomfortable. I'm not good at receiving them and I know I need to work on that. As someone who believes in regularly giving compliments, thanking people and telling them how much they mean to me, I suppose I must learn to have more grace when receiving the same in my turn. I suppose I don't think myself very special. No work is beneath me. I'm not better than anyone out there. I'm just me, with all my virtues and my flaws which number fairly high. I care a great deal for my friends, I am loyal, I am a hard worker, I don't mind pitching in wherever help is needed. Sure, I have good qualities. But, to be regaled with a laundry list of my perceived virtues, good works and kind deeds left me rather flummoxed.
The best way I think I can internalize this commentary is that those ripples that I have made in this small pond are all just reflections of the ripples that have affected me. I help because I was taught to help. I am kind to others because I was shown that the opposite was unacceptable. I leave a place better than I found it, because I was taught that lesson by example. I serve with joy because it was requested of me when I accepted a protege belt many years ago. I am merely a reflection of the bright light that has been shown upon me by the many remarkable people in my village.
So, from now on, when I receive compliments, I will try to do so with grace, remembering that when I am complimented it honors those who have taught me. I am who I am because of them. My pond is filled with the ripples of their actions and each time I am thanked I can silently offer up my thanks to those who have inspired me.