If you're not paying attention, you just might miss it...
I spent the last few days in Hobe Sound, Florida for a long weekend getaway with my girlfriend.
While the warmer weather (even though Florida was in a bit of a cold front) was a welcomed change from the sub arctic temperatures that were hammering the northeast... it wasn't the highlight of my trip.
The morning that I left, one of my friends and CrossFit athletes bid me farewell and offered me some advice . He told me to slow down, to not stress about work and to just be present in the moment.
Taking his words and running with them, I opted for a (mostly) electronic free weekend...allowing myself a few email checks in the morning and at night to make sure I was staying up on my responsibilities...but the daily Instagram posting, social media checking and follower building was put on hold. I had been backing away from it recently anyway... but the vacation was an excuse to disconnect in a more drastic way.
Over the weekend there were so many things I was able to witness; 2 hour long walks in the mornings not fractured by stopping to take photos, or checking to see how a post was doing. They weren't interrupted by a buzzing in my pocket or a screen that lit up in the corner of my eye. It was nice to be in my life...instead of having one foot in it and one foot in some smokescreen that doesn't actually exist. My trip happened, beautiful moments were lived, delicious food was consumed...and very little of it was caught on camera and shared with the world.
Ahhhh... isn't that nice?
There was one moment in particular that stood out to me, however. A moment that taught me more in it's simplicity than any big moments I may have had, any deep reflections with God or any heartfelt conversations shared over hot tea and vegan cheese plates.
It was at the end of our trip while we were on our way home. Hannah and I had a layover in Baltimore. Airport food doesn't leave a ton of healthy options for vegans, so we decided to grab a burrito at Chipotle. A woman ordering in front of us caught my attention... in the beginning I thought it was because she was ironically ordering the same random order that I was about to place... but as a few moments passed I recognized that her kindness and positivity were captivating me. I didn't think much of it, but as I watched the less than enthusiastic Chipotle employee slop runny guac on top of my rice and lettuce burrito, I heard the man ahead of both myself and this woman say to the cashier, "I'll pay for hers too."
Now- it is important to note that these two were not together and didn't know one another. They went their separate ways after and the woman had walked up alone... so this man was genuinely offering this stranger a token of kindness in paying for her meal. What happened next was quite possibly the most amazing thing I had ever seen... though you may all think I am nutty for thinking so.
The woman looked at the man and didn't object, didn't say "Me?", didn't say "No no, it's really okay"...
She literally jumped, as she put her hand on the man's shoulder and said "Yes yes yes!! Thank you so much!"
The man simply said "You're welcome" with a smile... and then walked away.
You might be wondering which person I was in awe of... and while the man extended kindness in a beautiful way... it wasn't him I was floored by.
It was the way the woman accepted the gift.
She wasn't sorry. She didn't think she didn't deserve it. She didn't think he was trying to "get something" from her or that she didn't need anyone to pay for her meal...
She was simply, beautifully and ecstatically grateful.
It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen- because I don't believe I had ever seen it in real life.
How often do we shrink ourselves down when someone gives us a gift, be it a compliment, their time, a ride or an actual physical present?
How many times have we shooed something away when someone tries to offer their kindness to us? Or felt like we didn't deserve it?
And how many times have we been ecstatically grateful?
I, for one... can tell you I don't know if I have ever been.
Not that I am not immensely grateful... but I have always carried with me the belief that gratitude required humility, and humility, in my mind...somehow meant shrinking.
But I saw humility and graciousness in an all new light... I saw it expand and light up, not shrink and hide.
And so I am encouraging myself to do the same... the next time someone offers me a gift, of any kind... to accept it with my whole heart and my whole body. To allow the excitement I feel for the love that has been extended show...and to not be ashamed of it.
And I am offering that same thought to you. How often do you shrink down when someone offers your kindness...
And how often do you jump up and down saying "Yes yes yes!" to the person who just wanted to show you kindness?
Had I been face down in my phone, I might have missed such a brilliant moment. I may have let a lesson I so needed to learn pass me by, along with God knows how many other countless gifts that each present moment has to offer.
My thoughts today? Pay attention. Look. Be open and willing to be right where you are, as exactly who you are...
And don't be surprised if the moment you are experiencing is precisely the gift that you get to be ecstatically grateful for.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you! <3