I’ve found friends in the oddest places.
Some you expect. When you work with a team, you hope to become close so working together becomes safe and effective.
You hope to engage well with neighbors because the community where you live is important. Besides, what happens when you need that cup of sugar or one egg?
But your realtor?
When our outfit moved to Orlando, none of us were familiar with the place. We’d no idea of where we wanted to live. We knew where we’d be working, but everything else was unknown.
A group of realtors was assigned to us as we came out in groups.
One became especially near and dear to the hearts of many of us.
She sold many homes, but did it with care, concern and a deep love for us because we shared the same spiritual perspective.
Carol Welker is turning 80. So we–her clients who’ve become her friends–threw her a surprise party.
There were at least eighty people there, about a third of those who might have come had they been able.
There were stories of husbands buying houses without wives. Of people seeing sixty houses in two days. Of people finding their dream homes.
In the process, friendships were forged.
Carol made a comment that took me by surprise. When I thought about it, her wisdom grabbed me.
“Now you all don’t have to come to my funeral because you’ve been here to celebrate me now.”
It felt a little morbid at first. Funeral? Who talks funeral at a birthday party?
She spoke of what meant something to her. Now.
Being seen. Known. Appreciated. Celebrated.
We do that well when people are dead.
I’ve been to many memorials where folks are eulogized by friends with beautiful sentiments and deep-felt appreciation. Valuing a life in front of others with gratitude.
All said over a casket. Or in light of a life ended.
How often do I wait to say thanks? To tell someone how much they’ve impacted my life? To allow someone to hear my gratitude for what they’ve meant to me?
Granted, there are times saying those things feels awkward. A little syrupy. I become concerned that it might not sound genuine. Or that they’ll think I have an ulterior motive.
That’s the conversation in my head. The dark me says, “Wait, there’ll be a better time. Maybe when others aren’t around.” The light me counters, “Why wait? What if there isn’t another time?”
The conversation goes on until the moment has passed. And the choice is gone.
Jesus tells us our words need to be kind and compassionate towards each other. Building others up. Seeking to encourage so others are blessed by our gratitude.
Admittedly, the snark comes out quicker. Cynicism and sarcasm are easier than gratitude and thanksgiving.
Focusing on sharing the good I see? It means focusing on the other person. Getting my eyes off me for a bit.
After all, who wants to wait till someone close dies to remember how wonderful they were?
Thanks, Carol, for reminding us of the gift of celebrating others.
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