“i want what you have,” she said. in the wee hours of the night, my sweet almost-94 momma, in intense pain from falling, was talking to her emergency room nurse, a young woman who was clearly exhausted and who couldn’t reach the energy she needed to smile. the nurse looked intently at my momma. “what?” she countered. “your beautiful smile,” momma said, with light-transcending-pain in her eyes. “you have a beautiful smile.” and yes, in the moments that followed, that was so obvious as we witnessed a huge eye-sparkling smile come to the nurse’s tired face. tears came to my eyes (because i am a geeky mush like that) as i watched my mom gently and brilliantly gift this hardworking nurse with something she already had inside herself.
how did momma do it? every where she went she gifted people….with things they already had.
yesterday i was at a garden party. it was really lovely. the flowers were stunning and the community of people who gathered were from different walks of the hosts’ lives. i was wearing a pair of clunky dr scholl clogs that i bought on a bringing-my-daughter-to-college-in-minneapolis trip in the fall many years ago. i still have them because 1. they are super comfortable and 2. they remind me of this trip to minnesota with my daughter, my son and his best friend (because i am a geeky mush like that.) a woman complimented me on them at the party, asked where i got them. i was able to tell her that there is a boutique near here where she can still purchase them (and of course, there is always the internet.) the fact of the matter is – most of the people at the party had on newer shoes than i did, newer styles, cooler stuff. but -and this is simple- this woman complimented me on mine and that made me look at what i had.
how many times have you looked at someone’s outfit, shoes, car, house, garden, work, relationship, life and wanted it?
a couple days ago my dear friend and i were talking about resentment. he asked, “what do you do with resentment? how do you combat it?” i have no easy answer. geez, i barely have an answer at all. but i remember that i had to memorize a reading in high school and i chose ‘desiderata’ (because i am a geeky mush like that.) the (not-verbatim) line that stands out in my mind is – “do not compare yourself with others, or you will become vain and bitter. for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” my friend and i talked about that. at length. we cited examples and promised to hold hands -even virtually-through all the challenges ahead (because i am a geeky mush like that.)
it can become insidious – resentment. it eats away at people and families and workplaces and towns and nations. what if we all took a moment to look at someone and remind them – gently and brilliantly, with light in our eyes – of what they already had. maybe there would be a little less resentment going around. and maybe a little more momma.