Posts Tagged With: gift

Best Gift Ever


Introspection can be a wonderful thing.

Last night I was chatting with someone I deeply admire and whose attention I always appreciate. There’s one thing in particular that was said, that has been turning over in my mind ever since.  In response to my confession of getting a little teary-eyed while watching a movie, she said, “We can’t help it, Riis. We’re empaths. What we see, we experience. We feel it, too.”

Empathy.

I’m familiar with it. But I didn’t make the connection between it and the movie initially. I thought it silly to commiserate with fictional people. But it’s not necessarily the people as much as it is the experience. The feelings of loss, hurt, determination, overwhelming joy. And all at once I realized that it’s true. I can’t help it.

I believe that is the main reason why my capacity for grace and compassion is beyond measure. My nature is to BE empathic. It’s interesting because the logical, analytical part of me sometimes wonders why I’m this way. While the compassionate part of me can’t imagine not being this way. She also said, “Feeling without restraint. Best gift ever.”

Best gift ever.

Yeah, that it is. It’s a gift I wish more people possessed. To know the depth of someone’s pain or the height of their joy, to an intimate degree… can mean the difference between wise counsel and insensitive opinion. It turns acquaintances into friends and friends into brothers or sisters. It changes your perspective on the world itself. But I wouldn’t trade this for anything in it.

Best.

Gift.

Ever.

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Categories: personal, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Reflection On Gift Giving


Sometimes giving a gift can be one of the most rewarding feelings in the world. You never know how much you’ll touch someone… and you never know what opportunities will arise from unforeseen angles.

For instance, I have a friend who is a highly accomplished artist and he creates tapestries for very wealthy clients.  I mean, some of his tapestries sell for thousands upon thousands of dollars… so it ain’t cheap.   Anyway, almost exactly 10 years ago today, he tells me that his friend Lucille (Shaq’s mom, I learned) had a birthday on the 14th of July.  He said he would be seeing her on the 21st and he asked me to write a song for her that would honor her, for her birthday.  (It’s part of what I do… writing, producing, arranging, etc…)

Seeing this as an opportunity to present my music, I agreed.  He told me this on Wednesday the 17th and said he was leaving at 5am on Saturday the 20th.  So I’d have to work fast.  I’m pretty good at writing and creating music and figured I had plenty of time before he left.

Well, life (as usual) got in the way and I didn’t get a chance to even start working on the song until Friday… and I spent all day writing, re-writing and recording it until I finally had something I was proud of.  By the time I was done the entire day had passed.  So I burned two copies on CDs and drove it over to his house at about 1:30am.  We listened to it a few times after I got there and he thought it was just wonderful and he was sure she would love it.

I told him to make sure and let me know what she thought of it.  He said that he’d call me after she’d heard it and would let me know what she said….  So here I was on my way to church the following Sunday morning and my cell phone rings…  and my friend is like, “Hey, someone wants to talk to you!”  And guess who gets on the phone?  Yep… it was Shaq’s mom calling to thank me for the song. She told me how much it meant to her and that she hoped we’d get a chance to meet face to face.

We talked for about 10 minutes or so and she mentioned that she wanted Shaq to hear it, etc.  She really was a very pleasant woman.  The whole experience brightened my day… and I was exceptionally proud of how well I’d done in less than a day.  Anyway, it made me think about the fact that despite everything else, deep down inside everyone is human and everyone treasures a sincere gesture of appreciation… even if their son is an international superstar.  To him, she’s just… MOM.

Categories: family, personal, relationships, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DOVE NOTE #11: Listen & Pay Attention


(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes”)

Once again I realize the wisdom of asking questions and discussing specific topics with my female friends. To say that women are complex would be an understatement. But their complexity is more easily understood if I take one aspect at a time and study it to find out exactly (or at least to the best of my biased male ability) how it functions.

In a recent conversation with a dear female friend of mine, she began to stress the importance of a man’s ability to “listen” and “pay attention“. I smiled while asking her, “Isn’t that the same thing?” (I knew they weren’t, but sometimes I like to goad her). She scoffed and said, “No, they are two very different and very important qualities I look for in a man.” Now on the surface this may seem like a relatively easy thing to do. Of course you can listen… of course you can pay attention… right?? But you have to look deeper and realize how women define these terms. Because unless you’re operating with a keen understanding of how women perceive things (which most men don’t)… you could actually wind up with the opposite results.

LISTENING: It does not refer to idly shaking your head while she rambles on and on about the high price of no-run pantyhose. It does not mean that your face maintains a look of impatience while waiting for your opportunity to speak. It does refer to you being an active participant in the conversation. This is demonstrated by your ability (and level of skill) to interject your thoughts and opinions based on what she has said. It does mean that when she makes a comment or suggestion, you consider and acknowledge it by your actions as well as your words.

PAYING ATTENTION: It does not mean that your eyes pop out because you notice how her new jeans look as if they were painted on. It also does not mean that you comment on her new hair color AFTER she mentioned to you that she had it done (definitely a bad move, you get no points. Depending on how long it took you to comment, you may even have points deducted.) with a simple “Oh yeah… um… cute”. It does mean that in conjunction with listening for instance, you’re able to determine her likes and/or dislikes and might then surprise her with a gesture or gift that she didn’t expect (or necessarily ask for), but rather was implied through conversations you’ve had with her. It also refers to recognizing and appreciating any effort she puts forth for your benefit, as opposed to taking her selfless nature for granted.

Sometimes we view things as complex, only to find out how very simple they are once we comprehend them better… women are a prime example of this. And so I encourage further in-depth research.

Categories: Dove Note, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

DOVE NOTE #31: When She’s Gifted


(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes”)

I have found that a woman who receives a gift for no reason (read, without provocation) considers this to be far more thoughtful than if she receives a gift for her birthday or a holiday.  Not that she doesn’t appreciate those gifts as well, but it tells her that you actually listen, pay attention, and remember things that she may say or do.   It also lets her know that you really do think about her when she’s not around.  Even if the gift is simply remembering her favorite flavor of tea, buying a box and surprising her with a hot steaming cup on a cold day, you have touched her heart.

Categories: Dove Note, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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