Today I went for a walk, little did I know that I would be taught a most valuable lesson about giving and receiving, from a 4 year old girl.
About 1/2 way through my walk I crossed paths with two women and 5 little girls who were enjoying the sights along the canal. I couldn’t help but notice the little blonde girl walking toward me and how proudly she held four goose feathers in her hands.
She looked up at me and stretched out her hands, “would you like one of my beautiful feathers?”
“Of course I would, thank you so much for such a wonderful gift.”
Her entire body, not just her face, lit up with the pleasure she felt in giving me this very precious gift.
As I walked away, goose feather in hand, I wasn’t sure quite what to do. It was clear that to her, this was not a dirty goose feather, it was magical and beautiful. Tossing it aside wasn’t an option. I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing her face if we crossed paths again and I had tossed aside her gift.
The perfect solution came to me and I tucked the feather into my pony tail.
I thought about the nature of giving and receiving. It’s become clear to me that being a good receiver is equally important as being a generous giver. This tiny girl’s face lit up the world with joy when I accepted her gift, I can’t help but think that her light would have dimmed if her gift had been rejected or ignored.
On the final stretch of my walk I encountered the group again. Tiny brown eyes looked up at me asking, “do you still have the feather I gave you?”
I pointed to my pony tail and turned around on the path, “what do you think?”
“I think it’s beautiful,” she said.
“I do too.”
She held out the three remaining feathers, “would you like one more?”
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Oh yes, you need two.”
“Shall I put this one in my pony tail also?”
Tiny hands clapped and she said “yes.”
I tucked the second goose feather into my hair and turned so she could see it.
“Oh my, you look like you have two beautiful birds on your head.”
Words can’t describe the warmth that filled my heart or the smile that spread over my face and hers.
Artist’s note: The feature image represents my interpretation of the day. Out of context I doubt it has much meaning, but I like to think that my little friend would find it beautiful.