Tuesday, February 13, 2018

{giving love} #sol18

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It was a moment I couldn't let by me.

I met Jan when the girls were in kindergarten. They attended an after school program and she was one of the teachers. They loved going and I was thrilled they were happy to spend their hours after school there. Jan made their time special and fun.

Due to our move, we transferred our girls to a new school and a new after school program. Our daily hellos with Jan ended. However, strange as it may be, we were in need of a new hair cutter. Through a conversation with my girls, I learned that Jan also cut hair.

So, we no longer see Jan after school, but now every couple months when we need our hair cut. We chat about the girls' old school, friends, and our connection with Willow Creek Church. She occasionally visited, but this connection led to more conversations about church and God.

Fast forward two years. We were due for another cut, so I sent a text looking for a time over the long weekend.

I was shocked at her reply. She was in a dark season: Her son almost lost his life and her husband left her.

I sat and wondered: What could I do for her? How can I make the pain go away? What could I say? What could I do? For days, I thought and pondered and prayed.

Saturday arrived, the day of our haircut appointments. I got dressed for the day and the last accessory I placed around my neck was my "Giving Key" necklace with the word LOVE engraved on it.

I heard the whisper. I felt the nudge. But could I? Don't I still need my one little word wrapped around my neck to remind me that I need to love myself?  I grabbed the bag the key was packaged in, just in case.

We arrived at Jan's house and I hugged her tight. She listened to our stories and updates and then led into her stories. Heartbreaking. I listened. That's all I could do. That's all she needed. Someone right now to listen. Her son survived and is doing amazing. Her relationship with her husband remains strained. Life is different.

As I was getting my purse to pay her, I saw the "Giving Key" bag with the explanation. The moment felt right.

"Jan, I have something to give you. I try and live by a one little word, instead of resolutions, for the year. My one little word this year is LOVE. I also have a key with this word on it as my reminder every day to love myself and others. This key is a "Giving Key." When I believe someone needs this word more than me, I pass it on. And right now I want you to feel love because you are loved."

Jan had tears streaming down her face. She jumped up and hugged me and whispered in my ear, "I feel more love than you will ever know. Thank you. I will never forget this."

It's bittersweet to let go of my word ... but it felt so, so right giving away love.

14 comments:

  1. The time was right. And in time, Jan will be able to pass it on to someone else in need of the reminder. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. I love those keys and I had fun sharing mine...with a student who was just starting in the program I was teaching in. I'm so glad that Jan's son was doing better. xo

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  3. What a beautiful heart you have :) These are the little -big ways we share our joys and teach our kids how to be both Human & Kind. Keep sharing love.

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  4. Such a beautiful love story! Thank you, Michelle, for sharing and reminding me to purposefully prepare to give love.

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  5. A precious story and heartfelt decision to pass on your gift of love. I know that Jan felt your love just be letting her talk, but then you expressed it in a different way. This is a token that she will cherish and lean on. You are a special person (& daughter). Luv ya, Mom

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  6. Love everything about this - the story, the writing, the Giving Keys (never heard of it) -- it is heartwarming. Perfect slice for this Valentine's week! Thanks.
    Clare

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  7. Thanks for sharing this moment, your little slice. I had not heard of Giving Keys, so thanks, also, for the introduction. Living your word happened on this day. I hope you feel very proud of it.

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  8. That powerful one little word! I'll be thinking of this post and you and the power of words....for days...

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  9. Very heartfelt post. What you did was perfect, too. First, you listened. That's what a lot of us need. Then you gave passed on the Giving Key, which is a wonderful concept. Can you imagine if more people had them and passed them on?

    P.S. I am a new Slicer. I posted my very first Slice of Life on my blog. :)

    A Turtle is a Boy's Best Friend

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  10. I believe that one word has just grown exponentially - it is a beautiful pay it forward.

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  11. Tears in my eyes, happiness in my heart.

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  12. Oh, Michelle. This made me cry. You may have given away your word, but I bet it will come back to you ten-fold. Love Grows.

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  13. Michelle, this is BEAUTIFUL! I work at The Giving Keys and have shared your blog post with our team. These are the moments that motivate us to keep doing what we do. Thank you for living out the pay it forward message and inspiring us all! xo, Ashley, Marketing Manager at The Giving Keys

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.