I came out of staff meeting today to find a present waiting on my desk - decked out in vintage flowered paper like Spring had begun to bloom right there in my office.
"Why is there a present on my desk?" I called out. But no one knew.
The paper came off and I lifted the lid from a white box to find a note written on the most darling card and as I read it I thought 'well shoot! I'm going to cry right here, standing by my desk!'
I didn't. Not because I'm strong but because my friend and coworker had come in to watch me open it - to discover who the mystery giver was - and I wasn't about to blubber all over the thrill of an unexpected gift. "It's from Gloria," I said, handing the note to my friend and digging through white tissue paper to the treasure inside.
Gloria is the kind of ageless woman that makes retirement living seem graceful and kindness oozes off her in great wafts of generosity. We are from wildly different generations and those differences speak volumes but I have never felt judged or looked down on by her. A few weeks ago we shared a table at the church social tea party. In conversation I had mentioned that I didn't own a single tea cup apart from Noa's miniature set. I thought nothing of it; afterall, I don't need fancy china to enjoy a good cup of tea.
From the rustling of tissue paper I pulled a pretty cup and saucer. "It just doesn't seem right that here I am with several cups & saucers - & you, without even one," she wrote in the note. "Here's a pretty one that I want you to have..."
There are two kinds of elderly people in the world. There are Scrooges and there are Gloria's. I have had my fair share of dealings with the Scrooges and I have had my fair share of blessings from the Gloria's.
I choose the Gloria's every time - who choose to be Gloria's even to the Scrooges! What a beautiful way to live life and a beautiful lesson for all of us younger, selfish generations!
When I tracked her down she laughed at my gushing thank you. "Oh, it's just a silly thing," she said. "I had more than would fit in the china cabinet."
Perhaps she thought she was only giving me a piece of china. Perhaps she didn't know she giving me a goal - to be a woman as kind and encouraging and supportive as she is - to be a Gloria to those younger than me.
I've said it before and I'll say it again now: I vow to be a sweetheart of an old woman - I vow to be a Gloria - to brighten the lives of those around me with a gentle spirit, a true heart, and a smile that reminds everyone I used to be young once too.