Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanks & Giving

'Tis the season to love and laugh and share with others. There is something about the time of year when the cool winter air begins warming people's hearts.

I have experienced much gratitude today in many facets of my life.There were dozens of tiny sparks of love shared in my presence and I wanted to make sure to recount a few of them for my own cyber-safe keeping.

For starters, today brought about a generous donation of training gear and an even more generous boost of enthusiasm and encouragement from the man behind Out of Breath Sports shop in Englewood, Jim Cotsworth. Both generosities couldn't have come at a more opportune time for me. The renewed sense of motivation that both Pam and Jim at the shop gave me will, undoubtedly, carry me through Toronto.

I was so proud to update them on my swimming ventures; seeing as they were there at the very beginning. I have known Pam and Jim since I started swimming competitively as a wee 8 year old and worked directly with both as a board member of the neighborhood community teams after my accident. What I realized most, was that it was beyond comprehension how much support you have when you open your eyes to it. I left given a bag full of goodies and a heart full of joy.

Sometimes giving can be much more transparent. After leaving the swim shop, full-heart in tow, I made--what I thought would be-- a quick journey to pick up some pottery that I had painted several weeks before, and head-hangingly neglected. This shop is one of those paint-your-own-masterpiece kind of joints and is run by one of the most beautiful spirits I've come across. Sadly, when I painted my piece a few weeks back, she wasn't there. I hadn't been in the shop for over 3 years, so I wasn't terribly surprised to assume that things had changed since then.

However, to my heart's surprise, she greeted me at the door this afternoon. We caught up using brief attempts at simplifying years' time. I told her all about my swimming. I was so excited to share this with her. In fact, I ended up sharing many things with her in our short correspondence today and, as beautiful and lovely of a spirit she may possess, I didn't really understand the magnitude of either my divulgement or excitement for it... until just now.

Three triple-coat layer years ago, my grandma and I used to go to this pottery shop to paint and share stories. While painting, we'd gab around all sorts of things from school to coaching to family gossip. I miss that. I miss her.

Today, flashed-forward, I found myself longing to have such a paint n' gab session. It was almost as if I were trying to fill my grandmother in on the last three years, highlighting those stories and giving details on events that I know that she'd truly adore in all her wildness. It was cathartic.

I imagine those close to me will be getting various ceramic goods this holiday season...

Giving can be a display of grandeur with arms outstretched, or it can be a subtle smile from a could-have-been stranger. The challenge truly lies in recognizing the gift of giving as it unveils itself to you as that last, hidden present under the tree or that extra slice of pumpkin pie that only Grandma would knew you needed.

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