I dropped the kids off with my mother-in-law on Friday afternoon to spend the night so my mother and I could check out the Mistletoe Market in Prattville and the Southern Homes and Gardens Christmas Open House in Wetumpka. Last year, we took the kids with us to peruse the beautifully decorated trees and left with the strangest conglomeration of ornaments that the snot-noses had to have. So this year, the idea that I would not be forced to purchase a clear plastic high-heeled Christmas ornament was beyond exciting.
We started out at the Mistletoe Market, which was basically a blend of local vendors peddling holiday wares and trinkets that any good Southern lady believes she just can't do without. I mean, who doesn't need a clear acrylic soap dispenser with your monogram appliqued on front in fancy script vinyl lettering? Who doesn't need to buy their kid a marshmallow gun made out of PVC pipe? Who doesn't need a necklace made of rolled up wallpaper bits in your choice of Alabama or Auburn team colors?
As we walked the aisles looking at the various booths full of goodies, my mother had Christmas on her mind. She is about 25 steps ahead of me this year on that note - I am planning on ignoring Christmas this year until a rather large bag of money is dropped in my lap. A local jeweler had a booth set up, and we stopped to look at all the beautiful things. They had some real stuff - silver and gold and the works - and they had some everyday stuff as well. She purchased a couple of gifts for my sisters-in-law, and we walked away to continue looking. We had looked at all the booths, and my mom wanted to walk back to the jewelry for me to point out something I might like for Christmas. And so we did, and I was drawn to things that were shiny and way overpriced for my mother's holiday budget. But that's when I was smacked in the soul with a pleasant surprise...
A lady working the booth looked at me and said these words to me: "I just wanted to tell you that you are such a beautiful woman. I noticed you when you were here a few minutes ago. You just radiate a beauty, and I like to tell people when I see that in them."
I was floored. I can't say that I have ever been paid a compliment that genuine and unexpected in my life. I'm sure at some point in my life many foolish young boys have told me I was cute or pretty or hot or whatever. But for a woman to pay you a compliment, well, just seems quite different. It feels real somehow. When a man thinks you're attractive or beautiful, a woman always assumes there's some sort of ulterior motive involved.
This stranger had no idea how much I needed to hear the words. She didn't have a clue that I have gained ten pounds in the past few months and can't button any of my jeans. She didn't realize that my legs have been covered in this weird and awful looking rash on my legs since coming down with strep a few weeks ago. She really had no clue the insecurity that plagues me as I notice the little lines beginning to settle in around my mouth and eyes and the gray hairs emerging in the sea of dark brown. She was not privy to the endless dialogue of negative talk that streams my conscious thought. She just thought something - a beautiful thought about me, a stranger - and decided to share it out loud.
It got me thinking how the world would be different if we shared these thoughts on a consistent basis. If we dared to say the things that bubble over in our heart but we would typically be too afraid to speak. I mean, why not? What do you have to lose by simply saying something nice? Someone might think I were crazy, but that wouldn't be a first for me.
So, I think I have a new goal. To share positive tidbits with others along the way as the Spirit moves me... anybody else wanna join me?