I haven’t had exactly what I would call the greatest June on record. I have, however, had many snippets and moments in time that I will remember for a very long time to come (for the right reasons!).
Some wise chap once told me a story that involved him trying to do something nice for someone. They had wanted some equipment and he was very clued up on the item in question. He had gone off to research it and told them that he would buy it as a gift for them but they would have to wait for about a week. He was also quite excited and knew it was something that they really wanted. He then got a message saying not to worry, they didn’t want to wait and had bought something that wasn’t as good and much more expensive than the one he was going to give them. All they had to do was wait 5 days and he knew it was not an urgent purchase. He was quite hurt and angry and explained that sometimes people forget the gift of giving. He had really wanted to give this gift and the feeling of doing something nice for someone else had been taken away.
It’s a story I have thought about a lot since I heard it and I recently was in the ‘receiver position’ as I call it. I had gone back to South Africa to see our family as my gran had passed away. It was a short visit as I needed to get back to the UK.
On my return flight, I had a little time at the airport lounge and was looking through a stand of paintings and drawings. I have been looking for a specific painting but have not had much luck in finding it.
The lady who owned the stand was just such a happy lady. She was from Mozambique and her and her brother had been doing the paintings together. We chatted and I hadn’t told her the reason for my trip but looking through her paintings that I hadn’t found ‘the one’. I have been looking for a painting for a while and whilst I liked her paintings, they wouldn’t fit in with the ones I had at home. We carried on chatting away.
Suddenly, she looked at me and asked if I had children. I answered yes, 2 boys. She then took me to some smaller paintings and said ‘I can’t have you leave without a painting – I would like to give you 2 as gifts’. I looked at her and thought ‘You are a complete stranger and don’t know me from a bar of salt, yet you are being so kind. You need this money and yet you are willing to give something for nothing’. I then remembered the conversation with the wise old chap about the gift of giving and then accepted her offer.
Together, we found the pastel drawing you see above that she had done herself. We looked to see if we could find another one but nothing really stood out like it and I said to her I was more than grateful for the one we had chosen. She wrapped it up very carefully so as not to get wet.
I flew the 15 hour journey still questioning how this person could have been so kind? Whenever I look at her painting, I am reminded of her actions and fully understand the gift of giving.