A Lesson in Generosity and Gratitude

15Nov12

I’m a little late getting this week’s post pulled together and posted. On the one hand it’s been a rough week. On the other, I had an incredible experience with generosity and gratitude. More on that in a minute.

First the rough part…

Apparently I need new glasses. That may not seem like a big deal and if I had stuck to a regular schedule of eye exams and the replacement of glasses that goes along with that, it wouldn’t have been. I didn’t do that so the past two weeks I’ve been paying the price. I have no one to blame but myself. Of course that doesn’t mean I’m not going to complain about it a bit first!

So normally needing new glasses isn’t a big deal. That is, until your eyeballs revolt and decide to send excruciating pain throughout your upper head for hours, sometimes days at a time, until you comply with their demands. I haven’t had the chance to comply yet, so my eyeballs and I are currently at war. I really hate negotiating with terrorists. I’d much rather do something drastic, like starve them out. Something tells me that won’t quite work in this situation so the war rages on.

They had a brief, albeit mighty, win yesterday. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday not able to look at anything. Think I’m kidding? I wish it were so. No sewing, no computer, no writing, no reading, no TV, PS3 or MP3 player. Anything and everything hurt my eyes, made my head throb, and sent waves of dizziness through me. Now I’m used to a regular and mighty degree of pain because I’ve lived with migraines my entire life. The pain of the past couple of days was different and worse. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I’m comforted by the fact that you would have had a great laugh watching me stumble around the apartment with a Naughty Gypsy blindfold, not only covering my eyes from all light, but also holding an ice pack in place. I’m fairly certain the cats had a chuckle at the sight as well!

Well played eyeballs. Well played.

Onto the amazing part of this week…..

Every so often, when things are rough, something amazing happens that restores my faith in humanity! An event like this happened this week.

With all the posts on photography, photo shoots, light boxes etc., I’m sure you can tell my life has a certain theme to it right now. Yup. You guessed it: photography. I’ve always enjoyed having a camera in my hand, and even took a photography class in college, so it’s no surprise that I enjoy the photography aspect of my work. Including that aspect in my work also gives me the perfect excuse to buy photography equipment. Mainly, a camera!

I always knew that someday I would put the money into a good DSLR camera with all the fixings. It was only a matter of time. Last week I decided that time was here. I diligently did my research. I figured out exactly what I would use it for, learned about the different features, the manufacturers, and the retailers. I asked my photographer friends via Facebook for tips and advice. I taught myself the lingo, made notes, and shopped around online before even setting foot in a camera store. Once there I spent almost two hours with a very kind and knowledgeable camera guy. I didn’t buy anything. No. I had to go home and pour over all the information he gave me. This was to be a big purchase and I wanted to make sure I got it right.

That very afternoon, after getting home from the camera store and feeling more than a little overwhelmed, I received a message from a friend (for privacy reasons I’m not going to name him). This friend of mine had a camera, with lenses, cards, batteries and bag that he wasn’t using anymore. The amazing part is that he didn’t want to sell it to me. He just wanted it to go to a good home. As a bonus it would be a sort of  thank-you for helping him with an annual charity event we work on together.

Since I did all my camera research I can say this package of goodies probably set this person back well over a thousand dollars. Easily. It is an older camera and is used, but you couldn’t tell that by looking at – or using – it. It’s in perfect condition and works wonderfully! I know this because I’ve spent the better part of the week (such as allowed by my eyeballs) playing with it!

Onto the gratitude….

The first lesson in gratitude is being thankful I have use of my eyes back today! I seem to be winning the battle, for now at least. Of course I know that I’ll have to slow down and take things easy until I get my eyes checked and new glasses sitting on the bridge of this nose. Unfortunately these things take time so the battle continues!

The big lesson in gratitude is of course with the camera. I’m forever grateful to this person for passing along such a wonderful gift. It will make my work life much easier, give me more professional level images for my portfolio, and has freed up funds so that I can get something else needed for my business. Practical reasons aside, it touched my heart. While I never would have expected such an amazing show of generosity, I’m thankful for it.

I’m also thankful for a life lesson that came along with the camera. I’ve been on the giving end of gifts before. I’ll often pass along items I no longer use and am happy that they go to someone who will appreciate them, rather than the monetary (if any) gain. But it was quite a different experience being on the receiving end. It was difficult accepting such a valuable item without some form of trade in return. That’s where the lesson comes in because, of course, it got me thinking; wondering why it was so hard to accept this gift.

The truth is it’s hard to simply accept a kindness and be thank-full for it. It’s a simple concept and yet we humans go and make it all complicated!

Think about it…

When was the last time someone gave you a compliment? How did you react?

I know how I react. I fluff it off, make light of it, or change the subject. I rarely accept it and just say thank-you.

How did you react the last time someone gave you something?

I was sceptical, wondered what the trick was, and refused it, until it was forced on me. (Not the camera, this was a different occasion.)

Isn’t that what we’re taught? We’re taught to be self-sufficient, to be able to take care of ourselves and not rely on the generosity (or pity and charity as it’s often called) of others. We can’t just take it as it was meant… as a gift, wrapped in kind thoughts and well wishes, given from one caring human being to another.

Well no more! In this instance I happily accepted with many thanks and a heart full of gratitude!

As my dad says, “You don’t learn anything on the easy days.” This week was trying at times, but full of life lessons, and now, gratitude. It was a good week.

As a funny anecdote to this story, the charity event this person and I work together on is the annual Rocky Horror Picture Show fund raiser and I have no pictures from this year’s event! I had someone with me taking pictures but none of them turned out. Something freaky happened with the camera, the settings were accidentally changed and all the pictures have strange blurred people in them. Every. Single. One. Not one is salvageable. Thanks to this new camera next year will be a different story. How serendipitous!

And now, before the revolution in my eye sockets starts up again, I better sign off. Until next week. Peace, love and naughtiness!

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