the best gifts…

…are the ones you don’t expect.

they come out of the blue, like pennies from heaven. sometimes they’re big, but often they’re small, maybe so small that their importance doesn’t rise above the daily noise of existence (sleep, work, eat, work, repeat). i often forget to take off the headphones and listen for those small treasures, and even more often i forget to give them. after today, i will think twice, perhaps even thrice…

i got a letter today, hidden amidst the junk mail and bills, a bright orange envelope addressed in a human hand. clearly something worth reading (although the latest credit card offer was tempting, i must say).

my friend john lewis dropped me a thanksgiving card. along with friendly greetings, he thanked me for throwing some web development work his way, and included a gift certificate to ‘tokyo a-go-go,’ a local sushi joint. i was speechless (a rare occurrence, as evidenced by my blatherings here).

i don’t speak with him often, and see him even less after we both got laid off (i used to be his ‘boss,’ of sorts, back in the new economy day). and yet, here was this wonderful card. a hundred words and free sushi…probably the best gift i could get to start the holiday season.

it didn’t even seem like a big deal to me, sending work his way. a friend asked me if i knew anyone who could do XYZ with PHP, i thought of john, and the rest is history. just doing my part to help fellow unemployed friends, you know? and yet, to him, it was a big enough deal to think of me around thanksgiving, and to actually go to the trouble of doing something about it. it made me smile deeply.

recommending him for the work was pretty easy. the credit for this exchange goes to him – actively recognizing the kindness of others (using our outside voices, as it were) is a great skill. i’m not sure about everyone else, but a lot of times, i just forget to do it.

so, thanks john, and overdue thanks to all of the rest of you out there who’ve done cool things for me and not expected anything in return. goodness knows you’ve often gotten what you expected from me (i.e., zip, nada, and zilch). tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, i hope i can remember today, and then thank people often for the great, small things they do to make my life pretty damn cool.

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