I want to share with you a recent experience that still brings me the proverbial, “lump in the throat” moment.
For those that don’t already know, I have been volunteering for a long time at a resource place for blind and low-vision folks. Besides reading mail, stories, books, etc., I formed a reading group called the, “Wit and Wisdom Group”. I cannot take credit for this extremely appropriate group name; a member of our group provided this terrific moniker. Over the past few years we have read wonderful stories of inspiration, hope, humor, despair, overcoming challenges, you name it. The discussions we’ve had around our reading material have been, quite frankly, phenomenal. I love reading aloud; it provides me with the opportunity to share some thought-provoking words as they literally seem to leap off the pages and into the air for all to hear.
It is always interesting to hear another person’s perspective on a topic; to me, it causes one to think, to change, and to realize the always creating, never-ending purpose of that which we came here to accomplish: growth.
The meeting was not going to be an easy one for me; after four years of volunteering, I was about to tell my group this would be the last meeting. I have a platter-full of busy tasks, new and exciting opportunities, and I was finding it difficult to juggle all the balls in the air at once. Certainly my intention was not to permanently delete volunteering from my schedule. I had to make some tough decisions, and this one was, by far, the most difficult to conclude.
I made my way into the group meeting room, only to be embraced by each chair occupied, and a table with goodies and snacks adorning my view.
Instead of our meeting, members of our group had arranged a little party for me, in honor of my birthday, and the recent acquirement of my U.S. Citizenship.
And then, I started to cry. I can only describe it as a moment in which my gratitude of their kindness, caring, and thoughtfulness overwhelmed me. To be in the company of such good, considerate, and incredible people is without measure. Truly, I am lacking for words; for a writer, that is not something which becomes me, to be sure.
There was a card placed in front of me; a breath-taking photo of a serene lake, luscious green coniferous trees lining the shore. The quote on the card read, “Going to the woods is going home.” – John Muir (Mr. Muir was a naturalist and preservationist, and co-founder of the environmental group, the “Sierra Club”). Inside the card noted, “In your honor, a tree is being planted in a National Forest.” Each group member’s name was included with the following: “Congratulations on passing the U.S. Citizenship Test, The Wit and Wisdom Group”.
Clearly at this point I needed to sit down and collect my scattered emotions and thoughts. I honestly do not remember what I said to my group; sometimes these surreal moments have a way of deleting your memory of the details. Somehow I managed to tell them about my new and upcoming plans. Despite my news of leaving the group, everyone was genuinely pleased for me and my new beginnings.
To be grateful is to live with grace; the appreciation of kindness and considerate acts guide us to know we are on the right track.