Two Surprises in One Day!
Welcome to another day of the Gratitude Challenge. As you already know, I've chosen to update and write articles daily instead of merely following a plan. Life is so beautiful, and every new day brings a new story of its own.
The more grateful I am during the 30-Day Gratitude Challenge, the more I'm experiencing such beautiful surprises.
On Sunday, I wrote about the power of words, either yours or those spoken by other people over your life, circumstances or destiny. May I take this moment to encourage each and every person reading this to be the kind of person who uplifts others, not curse or spew doubt and confusion over other people's destinies, for whatever you give, so shall it return to you. Yesterday, I briefly touched on how being grateful seems to be attracting so much positivity in my life. The more I practice giving, the more I receive, and the more I appreciate and recognise the gifts, the marvellous the surprises become. If there's a side-effect to the gratitude challenge, then this is it!
I woke up this morning with an idea about what to write at the end of the day. That plan has been thrown out of the window, thanks to yet another two surprises today.
Ballerina Shoes and A Theatre Ticket
Previously, I wrote about a kind gesture from Timpson, thanks to a stranger who fixed my shoe for free. Had planned to buy a new pair of shoes, but I soon found myself out of budget, and so I didn't consider buying a new pair as a priority. Having said, I still managed to achieve great feats, and for that, I am thankful. My neighbour and I chatted about clothes on Sunday, and at one time, she pulled out a catalogue from her kitchen drawers. She enthusiastically told me about her favourite store called Joe Browns. I've never been there before, but my neighbour said to me that the store was quite popular with the young, although they sell classic and vintage styles.
We perused the catalogue together, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a few items of clothing that I really liked from their small booklet. Two weeks ago, I spent hours looking for blouses online and struggled to find anything I wanted, despite looking at thousands of items from different shops. We agreed that one day soon, we'd pay the shop a visit.
Today, my neighbour called, asking for my shoe size. She explained that she'd just been to the shop, and noticed that the shoes which I really liked were on display. My friend loved them so much that she bought herself a pair. But she did think about me, and casually mentioned her sentiments to one of the girls at Joe Browns. The girl then said she had a voucher and was more than happy to give it to my neighbour so she could buy a second pair at a discounted price. It was such a lovely surprise, and a part of me didn't want to accept the offer. It somehow felt selfish, but a little voice encouraged me to receive the gift. Told my friend old that I was a size 5, and we agreed that I'd reimburse the balance.
Got ready for work, and as I was applying my makeup, there was a knock at the door. It turned out to be another neighbour. I'm sure these people aren't reading my articles, in case you're wondering. Used to think that my other neighbour was unfriendly and unapproachable until we started talking years ago. Over the years, we've grown to respect one another, and I never do gardening thanks to him and his long-term girlfriend. I can't even begin to tell you the number of times that the couple has surprised us with cake.
I assumed that my neighbour wanted access to the electricity socket so he could cut the grass, but boy, how wrong was I. "Fortune," he began. "I recently booked a holiday, but it clashes with a performance which I wanted to attend. I've got a theatre ticket for one, and would like you to have it."
How do you even comprehend yet another gesture from the blue? I was speechless. Can't remember what I said in response, but I was grateful, and humbled, again. Well, he was happy that I could use the ticket, before saying, "Well, that should get you out the house for a bit!" Although I chuckled about it, I knew he had a point. I mostly work from home and work elsewhere part-time, so it's so easy to find yourself in hobbit mode. I do meet people throughout the week, but it's not the same as going elsewhere to work. But, another colossal gesture to put on the gratitude list.
After work, I called at my neighbour's house, and she summoned me to get inside. Didn't know what to expect, but she'd later say:
"Fortune, you're one blessed lady. I went back to the shop after calling you and told the girl at the shop that you were a size 5. I didn't tell them your personal business, but I mentioned that you're such a hardworking mum, raising such two lovely children on your own. I told her that we've become good friends and that you're a nice person. The girl said, "If anyone deserves a nice pair of shoes, it's her!"
At that point, the girl decided to use up all her vouchers, and gave my friend a pair, fully paid for! Well, my neighbour said she couldn't help but cry when the girl gave her the shoes, and shed more tears as she walked to the car park. She then gave me a box with new shoes in, contained in a lovely bag from Joe Browns. There were loads of tears, hugs, and so much thankfulness. I opened the shoe-box, and there it was, the most adorable and heart-warming words from a total stranger:
"A hardworking mother deserves a nice pair of shoes. I hope you enjoy. Olivia x"
So many times, we pray and ask for good things, but I am beginning to realise that our ability to receive can be a challenge. When you're used to getting the raw end of the stick, it takes a lot of effort to accept kindness, and if you can't receive what you've been given with a cheerful heart, gratitude becomes a challenging concept. In my opinion, that's how we stem further help from our loved ones and strangers. There's nothing saintly about saying no to blessings. I know a thing or two about life struggles, and yet, sometimes those who need help the most are the least likely to appreciate help from others. May I never be that kind of person. I understand that on the other extreme end, there are people who give with ulterior motives, but that's a topic for another day.
I am beyond words, and yes, the shoes fit me perfectly. I simply adore them, summer, here I come! I hope to see Olivia soon, but am sincerely grateful for her thoughtfulness. I'm also thankful to my neighbours, they made my day super-special. I didn't expect any of this when I got up in the morning.
May this little story encourage you to exercise more gratitude in your life. It starts with the simple act of appreciating what you already have, to finding joy in being there for others. In the past few works, I've treated a few people as a way of expressing my thankfulness for what the Lord continues to do in my life. It seems as if the seeds are growing, and with each new day, I am receiving more goodness to be thankful for. I will go to bed with a firm conviction that gratitude is such a powerful force, capable of changing lives for better.
Don't just focus on a prepared list (it's an excellent place to start) but look deeper into your daily existence. You will soon find dots connecting to form a pattern that's unique to you as an individual, and that's an answer to your prayers and tailor-made encouragement to keep you going. Last week, I celebrated the fact that my shoes were repaired for free. This week, I received new shoes, and will put them on when I go to the theatre!
Thank you for reading.
Uncover inspiring stories with moral lessons from our surroundings.