As a family lawyer, sometimes grateful clients give me small gifts above my usual fees. It always makes me feel good to know that my client and I have connected in such a personal way. These tokens are never anything of great value–no diamonds! But they are of value to me.
Over my decades of guiding folks through what are often their darkest times, I have received food gifts (chocolates, hams, cheese boxes, garden produce, etc.). Some clients have made me inexpensive jewelry. I have received many flower arrangements. But the most magical gift I have ever received from a client has to be shoes.
It was, in fact, one of the darkest times of my life. What I had to keep from my clients who were suffering their own divorces was that my husband of 37 years had left me unexpectedly. My whole world had shaken. I was experiencing first hand the hurt and rejection that I had been helping clients weather for years. It was a whole, new feeling.
Still, my professional life had to go forward with my responsibility to my clients and to my courts. I got up each morning and carried out my work. In retrospect, I realize that having such weighty responsibility helped carry me through those times.
My friends worried about me, knowing of my husband’s betrayal. My church girlfriends insisted that I attend the ladies’ retreat that was coming up. I resisted. They insisted, threatening to kidnap me if necessary. I knew they meant business and agreed to go.
The Friday on which the retreat was to begin for the weekend, I was at work early to prepare for a hearing. My inbox showed a notice from the retreat organizer. The subject: “What to bring for our dinner meeting Friday night.” The body of the email said, “We will be sharing things that make us feel special. Please bring with you an item or photograph that has made you feel special to share at the Friday night dinner.”
Now, I ask you: What can make a rejected woman feel special? I was feeling pretty worthless at that time. I cursed the the upcoming retreat. Instead, I wanted to hide myself out rather than face all these happy-go-luckies who felt “special.” I decided that I would just have to say “skip me” during the show and tell time.
When I returned from Court, there was a shoe box on my desk. I opened it to find a pair of shoes–just my size–in a style I would NEVER have chosen for myself. I pulled them out and looked them over.
The shoes were from a trendy ladies’ shop and clearly not cheap. They were fabric, covered with little colorful flowers with stylish little low heels. They were cute as could be, but I am not a “cute as can be” person. These were not my style, at all. I have a serious nature that belies cute, flowery shoes.
Still, I could not resist: I slipped them on, and they fit perfectly. Wearing them, I strode down the hall to my assistant’s office. “Where did these come from?” I asked.
She laughed and said: “Mrs. Soandso called to ask about your shoe size. I checked that out for her while you were padding around here barefoot. She brought them in this morning.”
“Well, Ms. Helper,” I said, “did you also assist in choosing these?“
“Nope! When I looked at them, I had to hide my laugh while I assured her how pleased you would be. I, personally, think they are wonderful, but they’re not you!”
“Well,” I retorted. “it may surprise you to know that I have just the place to wear them.”
So, I stuffed the shoebox into my overnight bag and took off to the retreat.
At dinner time, I shared how down I was with nothing to share at the “special” show-and-tell, but then, as if by magic, these shoes appeared. They were the hit of the retreat–I wore them all weekend. They did, in fact, make me feel special, indeed.
Truthfully, I never wore them again–they really are not “me.” But they were just what
I needed at that time. As I thanked my client for her gift, I tried to impart to her how special they were to me. I don’t think she can know the truth of that…that is, really, mine to know.
So, when I first learned of the idea of Surprise Blessings, this story from my life came to my mind. I realized that the gift, itself, meant nothing when compared with the random act of kindness and the surprise of the blessing. And, serendipitously, the shoes appeared at the only time in my life when they would “fit.” I needed them that day, and they were provided.
I believe that we all can be vessels to carry blessings to others, and many will bless those recipients in ways we can never predict.
Join us in this experiment…As Glinda of OZ told Dorothy of her own magical shoes: “You have always had the power...” Writer 1