“We’re ready for the check.” Hands folded gracefully, she smiled up at the waitress.
Picking up plates, our waitress grinned. “Someone already took care of it.”
Our eyes began to scan the room. We stared at one another wordlessly, realizing we hadn’t the slightest clue who would do such a thing.
Our waitress saw our expressions and leaned in, “It was the gentleman who was sitting behind you. He’s one of our regulars, he’s a really nice guy.”
I saw tears form in my sweet friend’s eyes and I felt the sting of them in my own.
We sat there, hands clutching our hearts, completely in awe. I had just spent the last hour venting about my frustration, ranting about all the reasons why I’m angry at a large portion of men in my life. I knew he heard every word and I wondered if it was this stranger’s way of pouring a little hope into my weary heart.
We grabbed our purses and slowly walked out of our favorite restaurant. We always go there, though it’s a luxury and above what my budget typically allows. We’ve never said it, but I think it’s a treat to ourselves and to each other. Going there is our way of saying, “You are worth extravagant things. You’re classy, legendary, exquisite, fierce and unstoppable. You should be celebrated.”
The truth is though, my friend can make anywhere classy. When you’re in a room with her, you feel like you’ve got the world on a string, everything you need in your pockets. When she’s around, you feel as though mirrors rejoice at the chance to catch all the loveliness you carry.
I think that’s who we were always meant to be.
I think we’re meant to light up rooms that way. I think people should feel like gold around us, they should feel celebrated, their heads should be held high and feeling like they’ve got the kind of greatness that stops people in their tracks.
I think the guy who picked up our tab understood that. I think he knew that sometimes you need to make someone feel special, give them something extravagant and not even stick around to see their smile. Do it for them, not for you. Give and shine and be the person who makes someone feel valuable, make them know that even in their difficult moments, they’re worth beautiful and selfless gestures.
I’m learning how to be that person, who isn’t afraid to go big for other people. I’m also figuring out how to go big for myself, to make strong decisions. It feels good to finally come to the place where you just square your shoulders and say, “Come hell or high water, I’m doing this thing. I’m in it and I’m going to shake the earth with the way I dig my heels in and change things.”
I think people need us to be able to do that. They need us to see value in ourselves and that will push and inspire them to believe and see their own. When we show them that we’re determined to make ourselves grow, to see ourselves go further than we were ever told we could go, it will be easier for them to see that they are born to do the same.
This is really all about how I’m realizing how valuable I am and how learning that makes it easier to see others that way. If I know what I’m worth, then I’ll see that nothing can lessen that and how showing others their worth makes us both richer.
I never expected the stranger in the corner to be the one to strengthen these knocking knees. I sometimes forget how simple acts lead to incredible change.
2014 is coming to a close and I can’t really say that I’m sad to see her go. There were difficulties, there were hard questions, harder answers and a grace to learn to live with both. Changes are coming and I’m ready. Checks paid, faith restored, hope refilled and I’ve got a feeling this is just the beginning.