Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Life Lesson from a Purple Scarf

I’m one of those people that make year’s resolutions every year.  This year I’ve been hard at work de-cluttering.  (I’m even working on a new book on how our environment – home/work space - effects our emotions).  One of the first projects was my closet.  I’m not a big shopper but I do love accessories.  I’m kind of like a crow – attracted to shiny things.  At one point I got frustrated with the number of scarves I had.  They’re a pain to either hang or fold, especially when you have way too many. 

About a week after my big closet clean out, my son and I did our monthly Mobile Loaves &Fishes volunteer activity.  (Mobile Loaves & Fishes has a truck they send out with food and donated clothes for the homeless).  It was an unusually cold night and by coincidence one of the things on the truck to distribute where scarves.  Evidently I wasn’t the only one who cleaned out closets and donated scarves. 
One of our stops was in a parking lot where some of the homeless panhandle.  One of the ladies there was so excited about the scarves.  She was running her hand through the soft fuzzy fabrics and admiring the pastel colors.  You’d think with the cold weather she’d be more concerned with gloves or heavy sweaters but she was totally focused on the scarves.  She reported people often mistake her for a man (short hair, baggy clothes).  With a big smile on her face she chose a purple fluffy scarf and said now everyone would know she was a girl.   See, the very same things that were a nuisance to me meant the world to her.  

I learned a couple of life lessons that night.  One, no matter what our circumstances, our self-identity is important.  We all want to physically express who we are.  For this young lady, creativity and self-identity was as important as her physical needs.   Two, the whole time I was cleaning out my closet, I could have had a spirit of appreciation and gratitude instead of annoyance.  I was frustrated at the chore of having so many things that I didn’t have enough space for them all.  Each of those scarves had served a purpose, kept me warm or dressed up an outfit.  It doesn’t mean I should have kept them, it just means my attitude about discarding them could have been better. 

So for this New Year, I wish you all a spirit of thankfulness and appreciation for the things you have as I continue to work on my attitude of gratitude.  Also, never underestimate the value of a good scarf!

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