One of the small ways we oil the gears of harmony here in Penny's house is through consistent acts of kindness. Penny works for ASDA and rises at 4.15 am on work days for her shift. My simple service is to rise with her (trust me, I don't often stay up!) to make her my special coffee. It seems to be my forte. She calls me, "Barista Boy," and, as a tip, she'll leave a daily note of appreciation.
Since this has gone on for years, the creative challenge of leaving a different note each day is no mean feat. Mine is the easy part – to deliver consistently good coffee! Rinse and repeat. Mine has to be the same every day – no creativity necessary (or welcome!) She relies upon the reliable result of consistent coffee.
Rather than these notes taxing Penny's creativity, I've seen her creative genius grow over the years – like a muscle that has grown stronger with consistent exercise. A couple of weeks ago she drew her note of appreciation and marked it, "Penelope #:##," where the hashtags were a couple of significant numbers for her. I understood the numbers, but she realised I hadn't understood the full significance of the structure – [Name] followed by [number] [semi-colon] [number].
To help me have the 'Aha!' moment she was aiming for, she explained it was like a book of the Bible followed by Chapter and Verse. (Penny doesn't do the Bible thing, hence my not understanding the significance originally.) I suddenly had a much more massive 'Aha!' moment than she intended.
I said to her, "This is genius! Imagine writing your own book, with chapter and verse, to share the wisdom you've gained over life, at such high a cost!" Penny is very wise. I think the idea had been brewing for a few years because I've seen Penny's frustration at having family history photos that haven't been labelled. We've also lost family members before we could find out more about their life, their wisdom, their experience. We've lost vital information and insights.
What a GREAT publishing challenge! To take your life and write it out, chapter and verse! Chapters could be themed. For example, we've relatives that lived through at least the Second World War and experienced the Evacuation and Rationing. They learned stuff the hard way! Alternatively, you and I could take a theme like, "Relationships," as a chapter heading.
OK, let's pause for a moment because I know some of you are thinking, "Lex, that's far too big a task, and I don't have the energy... or the time." Relax. Penny is popping out one idea a day. Just one. She may never 'publish' these to the world but she's being creative, productive, and I appreciate every note.
Thus, my challenge is a deep one but a small one. I'm going to ask you to share just one gem of wisdom you've learned over the years. I'll share just one too: "Life is a package deal." I remember being envious of a friend's house, job, car, lifestyle... Then I looked at his kids (who needed 'attention') and realised that I couldn't have his life without the package that went with it. This set me free from the jealousy and envy. Nowadays, I can't imagine anyone wanting my life but I do – for better for worse – I wouldn't want to be anyone else.
Now, I'm curious... I'm leaning towards to the computer to catch your first gems to be shared today...
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