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The Gift of Appreciation

December 20, 2013 by  
Filed under blog

What a great time of the year this is!  It’s a season of celebrations with family and friends with all that wonderful music that usually brings back many special memories.  To me, though, it’s mostly about giving. Okay, yes, as a kid it was mostly about receiving but that was a very long time ago!

Giving returns so many super wonderful feelings in such a big way to the giver, sometimes to the point that the giver feels guilty for getting such great feelings as a reward.  Just yesterday I experienced that twinge of guilt after I had done a very small thing.

As I came out of a mall I saw two young ladies, probably in their  early to mid-20’s, sitting on a little wall taking a break from one of the shops that obviously worked at in the mall.  As I walked by I handed each of them a 2 dollar bill, saying “This is for luck. Don’t spend it.  Just keep it for luck.”  I usually give these to kids between 6 and 8 years old and watch their excited reaction and joy.  It is one of my favorite giving things to do. But I guess in this case, since I was struck by the season of giving we are in, I handed these to the young ladies without thinking.  Both girls said “Oh, I’m sorry I can’t accept this,” and I replied, “Give it to a kid and watch the big smile on their face.”

Reluctantly they accepted.  Then they began to thank me as if I’d given them $100 dollar bills.

As I started to walk away they asked, “Hey, where are you from?” and I said “Oh, I’m from here but I grew up in the Middle East, in the country of Turkey.” And then, of course, I had to lay a little Turkish on them, what little I remember. One of the girls surprised me by answering back in Arabic (the two languages have a lot of common words) and then they explained they were from Israel and they’d learned a little Arabic. So we had something in common.

As I walked toward my car I began thinking how their great appreciation for my very small gift made me feel so good.  I realized that “appreciation” is really a gift too and often a big and glorious gift.  Feeling a little connected to these young ladies and warmed by their great appreciation and friendliness, I got in my car and drove back to where they sat, giving both of them a copy of my latest book. Wow … talk about receiving a huge gift back! Their appreciative words and genuine feelings absolutely overwhelmed me.  You would have thought I’d given them a million dollars–calling me an angel from heaven and thanking me to the point that their appreciation was almost embarrassing.

What did I really take away from this experience though?  I realized that the biggest gifts any of us can give are not objects or anything you can put a price tag on, but gifts of love and appreciation. These things, without a doubt, last longer than any gift wrapped present. At this special time of year let’s all try to give more and return more with our sincere appreciation!!

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