We worked in the same office park. I've only ever seen you one time and I'll probably never see you again. In fact, the only thing I remember about you is that you have blonde hair. I don't even know your real name.
Two years ago, I was walking into the main building of Corporate Woods. It was super humid, typical of an Oklahoma summer evening, and I was feeling hideous because I wasn't wearing makeup, my outfit looked like Clinton and Stacy might be hiding in a nearby bush, and my head looked like a chrysanthemum. Plus I was cranky because I had to leave the house right in the middle of The Swan Princess. What a ripoff. Basically, I was gruuuuuumpy. I'd walked into the restroom to make a sorry attempt at fixing my frizz-head and it was going something like this:
I was actually on my way out when you came in. You started to walk past me at first, but then you stopped and said something I'll never forget, "You're so beautiful. I saw you the other day, but I never got the chance to tell you. I just think you're so lovely."
You angel. I wish you knew what that meant to me! Even if I had the opportunity to tell you, you still wouldn't know because to you, they were probably just words. To me, they were an answered prayer. I walked into work after that with a smile where a frown had been not 10 minutes before. To this day, when I'm having a particularly bad hair day or I wish I got braces or I think I need a tan, I think of that muggy summer day and I remember that someone out there thinks I'm lovely just the way I am. You've had a far greater impact than you could have ever imagined.
So, thanks for teaching me that it's ok to compliment strangers. Thanks for teaching me that it's not creepy, it's kind. And thanks for teaching me that every single time I have the chance to do for someone else what you did for me, for heaven's sakes, I'd better.
Friday, March 7, 2014
A few weeks ago, one of my friends from BYU passed away. Ashleigh and I weren't best friends. In fact, I could probably count our interactions on two hands. But that doesn't at all change the incredible influence she has had on my life. It seems like a lot of times, when we miss someone, we tend to remember only their positive qualities. That's true with Ashleigh too, except in her case, it's only because I never saw a single negative quality in her to remember. Ashleigh is one of the kindest, friendliest, loveliest, most sincere women I have ever met. And not only is that the farthest thing from an exaggeration, but also, I feel like there should be other words invented just to describe her. Those ones don't quite do it. When I first moved into the ward Junior year, Ashleigh was one of the first people to introduce herself. I remember thinking, "This ward won't be so bad. I already have a new friend. :)" She included everyone, just by her smile and loving, happy attitude! I have never met anyone so good at teaching by example.
After Ashleigh passed away, I found myself thinking a lot about how the Lord puts people like her in our lives to teach us things. This life can be haaaaard and most of the time, the Lord's tender mercies come in the form of another person. Then I realized that I let a lot of people pass through my life DAILY without even acknowledging the beauty that they bring to it. That's stupid. Why wouldn't I take the time to be blessed by my blessings...? Um helloooooo.
So, I started paying more attention and let me just say, human beings are probably my new favorite thing. There are so many awesome people EVERYWHERE and I want to tell you about some of them in the next few blog posts :) Some of the posts will be about interactions that literally lasted 20 seconds in passing. Some of the people will have made up names because I never learned their actual ones. But I think the beauty is in the simplicity of it.
So count this as my first of the "Dear Ashleigh" series. I figured the one who inspired the idea should be the first :)
I feel like you must be the person that my young woman's leaders were teaching me to be all of those years. Your humility, love, and kindness shine right through your lovely smile and I'm so thankful for the chance I've had to know you. Thanks for introducing yourself that first day. Thanks for being my friend. :) I love you!