There’s an old saying, “Give me my flowers while I’m still alive. Don’t wait to cover me up with them when I die.” In my adult life, my Mom often reminds me that this very quotation was a guiding principle in my Dad’s life. And, a very strong part of his legacy to this day.
He was known by many as a sharp business man, a cattle man, a funny man, a family man, but, above all, a kind and generous man. He would pick flowers for my Mom and Mamaw (his Mom) along the roadside, he would support local farmers by buying out everything in their produce stands (no matter how old or rotten the produce might have been) and he would graciously sit through the fashion shows my sister and I would put on for him so that we could model the new outfits he’d just purchased for us. He always made people feel important and special. He was “giving people their flowers” both literally and figuratively.
In the rush and push of our daily lives, we often forget this simple practice. Why? Because, if you tell the lady at the grocery store that you love her purse, she may think you’re going to take off with it. Or, if you tell your spouse how important they are to you, they’re going to think you’re up to something. You get what I’m saying here? We get out of practice when it comes to encouraging others in word or action.
Every single day, I make it my business to “give people their flowers.” I don’t have a quota as to how many people I’ll encourage, and I certainly don’t encourage just for the sake of encouragement. But, when I do have an encouraging word for someone, I give it to them. If there’s something I can do to make a person feel loved or special, I do it. And, here’s the deal, I never ever, ever, EVER regret it.
When my Dad passed away, there are two things, as a seven year old girl, I took note of. There was an abundance of flowers people sent to honor his life and those who survived him, and there were so many people attending his funeral, they filled the church, church entrance, front lawn and street. He was loved because loving others in word and action was of great importance to him while he was alive.
I don’t know about y’all, but I want to be loved like that and remembered like that. Just this last weekend, two very important people in my life, Nelda (via, her daughter and my forever friend, Brandy) and Robert Briley, shared with me (separately) what a special man my Dad was. Two nights ago, my beloved cousin, Steve Nalls, shared a funny story about my Dad, and, his beautiful wife and my beautiful cousin, Sheila Nalls said, “Jill, I cannot tell you how often Steve shares a story about your Dad and tells me how much he wishes I could have known him.” And, friends, Nelda, Brandy, Robert, Steve and Sheila will never know what that did for my heart. Thirty-two years after his passing, people are still talking about him and celebrating him. My heart… SMILES!
I say, we all need to live a life worth celebrating. We need to give people their flowers while they’re here. And, we need to be forever aware of the power of love, kindness, generosity and, overall, encouragement, in whatever form it may take. So, minimize the screen and cruise on over to your co-worker’s desk and tell them or do something for them that shows them how valuable they are to you. You won’t regret it!
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