A Year of Gifts
We have an unsolved mystery at the office. Nothing significant, but a mystery nonetheless. After some time away over the holidays, I was back at the office on the second day of the new year. As I filled my coffee cup and prepared to face a full inbox after nearly two weeks away, I spared a glance at the still-decorated Christmas tree as I made my way back to my office. I remember thinking I should find twenty minutes to pull off the ornaments and stow the tree away until next year. I’d get to it if I could.
Later, when the light faded outside my office windows, I realized it was time to head home. I flipped off the lights as I was the last one to leave, again passing the still festive tree on my way out the door. Maybe I’d get around to it the next day.
I didn’t have to. When I returned the next morning, the tree stood bare. Someone had taken down all the decorations and stowed them away. No ornaments remained except one lone little bulb, still hanging on a lower branch. There was something about that single bulb that spoke to me.
Curious, I asked around. We only have a small group in our office area. No, none of them took down the decorations. Perhaps it was the woman who does such an amazing job cleaning our offices after hours. But she wouldn’t know where to put the tub of decorations. Whoever it was, they left a little something behind.
That one little gold bulb reminded me of how we almost always leave something behind us as we move through life, even when we don’t realize it.
Think about how many people we interact with each day. Regardless of whether our encounter is brief or lengthy, the quality of our interaction has at least the potential to impact us both. A kind word or a smile may be all it takes to brighten someone’s day. We’ve left a little something positive in our wake. On the flip side, if we’re having a crummy day and get impatient with someone, we can pass those bad vibes on, too.
It’s like we leave a little trail of breadcrumbs behind us, everywhere we go. We seldom leave things exactly as they were before we pass through. Sometimes the impact we make will be fleeting, sometimes it will endure.
We see this in nature, too. A dropped candy wrapper here, a trampled flower there, and suddenly a tiny bit of beauty is lost. Over time, the effects of carelessness can compound. We need to tread carefully, doing what we can to nurture and not destroy.
Nearly everything we do will leave at least a small imprint on the world. Our spoken words have the power to have an immediate impact on someone else. Our written words record our thoughts and could impact others, possibly for years to come. A kind gesture that perhaps seems almost inconsequential could literally save someone's life.
I’m saddened and mystified by the dilemma we find ourselves in right now in the US due to the partial government shutdown, but it warms my heart to see men, women, and children stepping forward to help others who suddenly find themselves in difficult positions through no fault of their own. Stories abound of people and businesses doing what they can to help. I heard about a restaurant in an airport offering free meals to TSA workers. I saw an interview with a woman who's faced hard times herself in the past, and now she's providing financial assistance to people who gave her a job when she needed it the most.
There are many similar examples, playing out all across the country. I hope the media continues to focus on the positive stories because, as we all know, what you focus on grows.
We’ve seen strangers helping strangers, countless other times. People helping people in times of struggle. Whether it’s a fire, a flood, or horrific acts of violence, people come together in times of need.
These are the kind of footsteps I hope we can all strive to leave behind us as we travel through life.
Make someone’s day, don’t ruin it. Plant a tree, don’t cut it down. Write a funny story and make someone laugh instead of dashing off a scathing comment meant to force your opinion on someone else.
Attitude is everything. Your own attitude can make or break your day. Just as importantly, it can make or break someone else’s, even when you don’t mean for it to.
We still don't know who undressed our tree. I could keep asking questions, but sometimes a little mystery is fun. I took the tree down and stowed it away later that morning, but I brought the small gold ornament into my office. It will serve as a reminder to me.
Everything we do leaves something behind. Make it count. Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!