In early November of 2010, I stuck my head outside my front door for one of the brief moments each day that I allowed myself to see the daylight. I snaked a hand into the mailbox, let it clank shut, and then shut the door in front of me as I retreated into the house. The stack held the usual assorted and sundry crap, but an ecru envelope peeked out of the pile.
No return address. Huh.
I opened it. It was a handwritten note from my friend John — one sentence. No condolences. Just letting me know he was around. Jason had died the week prior. I was thankful for the note. But much like what was sent to me at that time in my life, I couldn’t keep it. It fell away into a grocery bag or something else I called “the trash” and found its way to wherever discarded handwritten notes on ecru stationary go when your heart can’t hold onto them.
That’s not the only time John had sent me a note, though. The first one looked like this — and yes, I still have it.
It hangs on a bulletin board above my desk to remind me — of many things.
That somewhere in 2009, John and I found the beginnings of a friendship.
That there are tough questions to be asked and answered, and we can ask those of each other.
That sometimes you meet for business and don’t get any done, because life is what matters most.
That each of us has a story that few have ever heard. And sometimes, we need a little help to best tell that story when it needs telling.
See, it’s the little things: making space, hearing and truly seeing another person that matter most. It’s not our Google Calendars that scream at us with a ten-minute warning or the motherfu… we mutter under our breaths as we realize that OF COURSE heavy whipping cream is never on sale and always out of stock during the holidays.
It’s the little things. They never cost a dime but our time and attention.
The same night I spoke at TEDxBoulder this year, my friend John was sharing his story at TEDx Fort Collins. Their event started mid-day so I couldn’t drive up from Boulder to see his talk live, but John — in his completely awesome and selfless self — drove back down to Boulder to see mine (and Tina — thank you for lending me your husband for the entire 2 months prior to our TEDx talks).
As we all head into a weekend that is hopefully filled with love, gravy, and thanks, I wanted to share his completely simple and unabashedly humble thoughts on what the little things mean — and what made him change his life so that the little things came first.
And while not every post will be filled with a string of expletives or polar bear pictures, know that I’m so fucking thankful for you. You are the best part of what I get to do for a living.
If you like John’s talk, you can connect with him on Twitter.