April 19, 2015

Lessons in Grace, or: Be Nice, It’s Easy

I post a lot of pictures of my cat. A LOT.

I post a lot of pictures of my cat. A LOT.

My 200+ Friends on Facebook are often subjected to photos of Geronimo Cat, my domesticated feral bulls-eye tabby. There are many reasons I share his picture so often, among them: 1) he’s my first cat and I’m head over heels in love, 2) he’s truly gorgeous, and 3) I’m learning to become a better photographer. Typically, after any given Status Update featuring Geronimo’s pic, I can count on the same four friends responding generously with a “Like” — all Cat People themselves.

One day a few weeks back I took what I thought to be a particularly stunning picture of Geronimo and posted it as my Status Update with the caption of, “It’s been a few days since I’ve shared a cat photo and I know you’re jonesing for one.” Well…..a friend of my niece’s, a man I’ve never met but with whom I’ve formed a fun and easy Facebook acquaintanceship, wrote, “I was going to say something if you hadn’t posted one by tomorrow.”

I’ll never forget the power of his playful comment. All at once I felt: amused, validated, honored, and warmed by his words. In that one response, he pulled off what so many of us pass on the opportunity to do: he made another human feel good with his graciousness of spirit. And what he actually did was give a little of himself. We all know people who are so stingy with their goodwill that they can’t give to another human in even those small and painless doses, yet opportunities for giving of ourselves in this way are abundant (especially on social networking sites), if only we will watch for them and act on them.

Someone once wrote, “They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

My Facebook Friend made me feel like he valued what I value. And I will never forget that.

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