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When greetings grab hold



Tis the season for appreciating just how valuable – and vital – greetings are.


We reflexively offer up “season's greetings” to people we meet, and greeting cards are everywhere, ensuring our greetings get to people we can't be with.


But we tend to overlook the power we unleash when we do that. In our heart-felt greetings, we're sharing our joy and appreciation for another person's presence in the world. And, gulp, that can be scary.


You may know someone who is reticent about greetings. They don't extend a hand, they don't even make eye contact. Opening themselves to you makes them feel terrifyingly vulnerable.


I have this thing for greetings because they reveal so much about the greeter. For me it started with this quote by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke: “Love consists of this: two solitudes that meet, protect and greet each other.”


I had never considered simply greeting someone as being a function of love. And yet, it most certainly is. I write in “It's Hard Being You” about the generosity involved in preparing for a guest's arrival. As a host, “Simply greeting people warmly and fully is so generous. You’re saying: I see you. I appreciate you. I want to make room for you in this moment.”


Luckily, this kind of interaction can also take place from a distance, and that is what has enthralled me this season. Some members of The World Enders: Lord Huron Fan Club organize a greeting card exchange every year. And they put their all into the effort, designing the cards and the messages. Here's a social media post from one participant (name omitted for privacy):


“The year has again been tough for me, but for weeks/months I have been so looking forward to the card exchange... It brought me joy writing and sending them off. Getting cards in return is the highlight of my week... It's special being part of this group, and I know each one of us has struggles; everyone is always so kind, generous, beautiful human beings. May you live until you die.”


There you have it: The power you can unleash with a greeting.

Put yourself out there this holiday season and embrace the awkwardness. You might change someone's world.


Card design and photo credit: Jamie Lee Sullivan

 

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4 comentarios


You are so right, Sharon. There is something so exciting about getting the mail from the box and there is something in there that isn't either in a window envelope or asking for money or an ad! A real note from a real person. It might be a greeting card (my favorites) but a handwritten thank you or note of appreciation for something -- even a "thinking of you" -- can really boost the day. Email is nice -- but not quite the same! This is a beautiful post -- and a timely one, too! ~ jeanie

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Sharon Emery
Sharon Emery
15 dic 2023
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Thanks, Jeanie. Your comment is a good reminder that all the effort required in sending cards is worth it. Merry Christmas!

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Brian Carlisle
Brian Carlisle
13 dic 2023

Agreed. Sending out greeting cards of any kind always gives the giver a huge sense of well being regardless of the end result appreciation. So wholesome.

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Sharon Emery
Sharon Emery
13 dic 2023
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You know it, Brian! And when there's a personal message, all the more powerful. Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday.


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