sharing delight

Nancy and I got to spend a night at the Potawatomi Inn. If we had to pick a place that is “our” place, that’s it. We’ve been there half a dozen times across the years.

We were sitting at supper Friday night when Nancy saw someone looking toward us. Pam came carrying a gift certificate. A friend had seen where Nancy and I were staying. This friend had called the Inn and had a certificate delivered to us while we were still eating.

Pam, the desk manager who had taken the call came herself. She stood and talked for a minute…and then sat down. We chatted. She listened to us talk about the friendship. She was interested in the idea of someone reaching out that way. She was interested in how much we like the Inn. I think she was surprised enough by the concept that she wanted the event to last a bit longer.

This could be about the generosity of my friend. But it isn’t. At least not about the generosity to us.

In addition to the food for us, the phone call gave Pam an opportunity to be part of a conspiracy of delight. And she rose to the occasion.

How often to you allow other people to carry good news? How often do you build connections of celebrations?

As I was writing, I remembered a time I did this.

Five years ago, I wanted to do something fun for Nancy for our anniversary. I got a picture of the flowers that she had used to decorate for our wedding, a picture of flowers in the backseat of her car. I took it to a florist that I knew. I said, “I would love a basket that has all of these flowers, but I don’t even know what they are called.”

Somehow, that request captured Barbara’s attention. She figured out what the plants were, ordered what she needed, and prepared a basket. As much as Nancy and I enjoyed the flowers, I think we enjoyed Barbara’s response to this project even more.

This week, plan a small gift for a friend or spouse or child. Enlist the help of other people to pull it off. Ask someone who lives in a different state to mail the card for you so the postmark of the anonymous card is completely unexpected. Order a set of cards from someone you met online. Ask your friend’s coworker to make a deliver in the middle of a meeting.

And do it this week, when there are no holidays to make it obligatory.

And then let us know how it turned out.


(And, by the way, thanks for the dinner. And breakfast.)


One response to “sharing delight

  1. This encourages me. I tried to do this kind of thing for someone near and dear one time and the fact that it fizzled still makes me teary when I think about it (like right now). But, I realize in retrospect, that the very important part of the puzzle that I failed to take into account in that case was what exactly would delight, based on that person’s personality and approach to life. I have since learned more about what matters to my dear one and have had at least one positive redeeming experience to let me know surprised delight is possible. Now your idea of letting someone else in on the pleasure spurs me on to try again. I’ll be watching for ways to make it happen.