She was wearing the sweetest little pin. A sort of wonky heart shape in multiple colors that was obviously handmade. It was so charming.
I told her how lovely I thought it was. No big deal, really. A common exchange between friends.
I expected a “thank you” or a “this old thing?” in response. Maybe we would just smile and both admire the cute little pin. Or she would tell me the history of it, where it was made and who gave it to her.
Instead, the most amazing thing happened. Without saying one word, she reached up and unhooked the pin. Smiling sweetly, she put it in my hand.
“For me?” I said.
“Yes” she said, “I’d like you to have it.”
No, no, I thought! These things don’t really happen in life. People don’t just give away their jewelry.
I tried not to accept it, but she insisted. What else could I do?!
I was stunned. No one had ever given me something so spontaneously, so easily, so freely. It wasn’t the size of the gift. It was the enormity of the gesture that overwhelmed me.
I had no words. “Thank you” seemed lacking and yet I was enormously grateful. Finally all I could say was, “I am so humbled by your kindness.”
And I still am. Humbled, that is. Every time I see that little heart pin, I am overwhelmed by the gratitude I feel.
She says I owe her nothing but to enjoy the gift. And I certainly do. That little piece of handmade jewelry gives me great joy.
I think now the best way to pay back my gratitude is to pay it forward. How fun would it be to hand this little pin to the next admirer, freely, easily, spontaneously and with no strings attached.
Just the way she taught me.