Saturday, March 5, 2011
A little story I wanted to share, though it is not Christmas though maybe it ought to be.
Some years ago, in my life of professional career, I worked in a small company with a bunch of energetic, idealistic and very creative people. We knew each other pretty well, we knew about our spouses, girl/boy friends, kids but we were never very, very close. And as it usually is there were some people I connected better than with that the others. Jessie was not one of them. Jessie, I thought at the time, was
a bit annoying, opinionated, and at times neurotic but also very intelligent and funny. He commuted to work on his beloved bike because he did not want to own a car and public transportation, though decent in Boston, would eat up a huge chunk of his time. So rain, snow or shine, Jesse biked several miles without any complaints.
One day his beloved bike was stolen and, of course, never recovered. Police have better things to do than to search for bike thieves. Needless to say, Jessie was distraught. It was not even about the inconvenience but feelings of being ripped off something he loved dearly by someone who would not even appreciate his gain.
Jessie had no money to get a new bike - ours was not a high paying company. We worked there because we liked it and we liked each other. Now this is of course before we all grew up (sarcasm).
As Christmas approached I overheard Jessie, who was Jewish, arguing with someone that Christmas was not just about religion.
For quite some time a thought had been rattling in my mind and somehow when I heard him say that I knew I needed to act on it. I am quite impulsive. The next morning I got to work very early, way before anybody else did. I opened up the place (I had the keys), went to Jessie's room and left an envelope on his desk with money for a new bike and a note that I agreed, Christmas should not be only about religion. I left work, locked up again and went for coffee. To cover up my tracks, I showed up a bit late that day and watched with joy bewildered Jessie trying to figure out who, how and why.
The money came from my savings for cross country skis. I never bough those skis and never regretted it. Till this day I think this was the best money I have ever spent.
Jesse, as hard as he tried, never found out where the gift came from. A few days later he rode to work on a new bike (well, a used one but very cool).
But the true gift was not for him, it was for me. Till this day I feel really good inside when I remember this story. And no, I never learned to like Jessie more. I still found him annoying and too opinionated but intelligent and funny.
As I recall this story two thoughts come to my mind.
One is that we need to express our caring and love for other people more often. It does not have to be through gifts, it can be just words and support. We also need to learn to accept them. There is enough pain and suffering in this world, we not only don't need to add to it, we need to counterbalance it.
Another thought is that after all my years on this planet I still cannot understand why we are so afraid to be open about our feelings, especially those good ones. We find it so much easier to express anger and frustration than love. Sure, it felt kind of neat having to sneak around to leave the gift. I knew that had done that in the open I would probably embarrass the guy and he would not accept and I would feel just awful - isn't that something that an act of kindness and caring embarrasses us? It is so much easier to call somebody a jerk than to give or receive affection, caring and simple human love (I am not talking romantic love here, in case you were wondering).
So maybe as you go on with your daily routines, show some love to those, even annoying, people around you. It might just make your day and make you feel like Christmas.