Everyone has times when you think things are bad, and then they just get worse. It’s been like that for me lately. I hate to be a downer, but my job is hard. Being a full-time working mom is hard. Getting housework done is hard. Personal issues I’ve recently had are hard. Stuff’s just hard, man. But just when I thought I’d had enough things start to get better: stuff at work that wasn’t working for so long is… better. Just when I was feeling crappy, a coworker took the time to tell me I’m appreciated.
I know a woman named Jennifer. Jennifer is calm, hilarious, peaceful, sarcastic, smart, sympathetic, and thoughtful. I love working with her because she is always ready to listen, share empathetic stories, give her honest opinion, and take action in whatever way you need her to. Jennifer always has a funny story or humorous idea; some of my favorite work moments involve Jennifer’s humor. She purchased some bump-it’s once and tried them in my hair. Now, if you know my hair, you know why that’s funny. I probably had the highest, tangliest, bumpiest bump ever. Another time I brought in one of my wraps (my Dolcino, my first real woven) and she photographed me posing with some library babies. She’s such a great photographer… I can remember helping her get pictures off her digital camera a few times, so of course I got to check out her pictures. She’s amazing at taking pictures of anything! I’m lucky to be her Facebook friend, because I constantly get to read stories and see photos she’s taken while on nature walks.
Before my 30th birthday last fall I started thinking a lot about what happens to us when we die. Morbid, I know, and yeah… I’ll save the details for another post. Jennifer is a co-pastor for a Quaker church with a lot of theology knowledge, an open mind, and a peaceful demeanor. I talked to her briefly about my concerns, and I’ll never forget how she responded when I told her my fears, and asked her, “what happens to us when we die?” Her response: “I don’t know.” She told me her thoughts and hopes, but she never made me feel stupid, or like I should be fearful, or like I was bad or wrong for not already having a firm belief. I still don’t know what I think, and I wonder about it a lot. But I’m not as lost anymore, and I know I can depend on her to talk it out any time.
Jennifer knows how hard work has been for me lately, and today as I headed back to my office to get my things ready to leave I was surprised to find her in there. “Hey, I was just writing you a note,” she said. “It says ‘I bought you some cookies. Of course I had to try one. Then I had another but I couldn’t finish it, so I only had half.'” Totally Jennifer. So giving, but so honest and funny at the same time. I told her she didn’t have to so that, and she said, “it’s just some cookies.”
Jennifer lied. It was more than cookies. First of all, the gift came with a hug. I’m not one to ask or offer hugs often, but each time I share one with someone I remember how great they are. Once I got to my car I opened the gift bag and shared some cookies with Atticus and Trent. I told Trent that Jennifer had given them to us. He knows Jennifer because he likes to share his crazy jokes with her and play shy with her. We went back in to thank her, then left. It wasn’t until later that I saw what else was in the bag: a delicious looking tea drink I can’t wait to enjoy. I love tea! And the best part… a Jennifer original photograph.
I first saw this picture when Jennifer shared it on Facebook. I showed this to Trent and asked what he saw and he said “some trees.” Then his face lot up. “A heart, mommy!” He said that it was nice of Jennifer to give it to me.
Jennifer also included a note, which made me cry. She said something really important, something I want to remember and something I hope others take away from this.
I think people don’t realize that they are making an impact on others unless the ‘others’ tell them. So, I am telling you!
She’s right. And I bet she didn’t know how much her thoughtfulness meant to me, how hard things have been and how wonderful her words felt to read, and just how perfectly timed she was. Actually, I’m sure she knew. Jennifer’s too smart not to. She always notices the little things.
She is a good woman. I’m so glad to know her. Thanks, Jennifer.