Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Art of Graciousness

Veterans Day, 2010

The past two weekends, my fiancé and I attended out of town weddings, where brides come from parents whom I consider to be my “veteran friends.” We have been friends for close to 30 years and I have watched both brides grow up. I watched as these two young lovely women were weaned on the most exquisite luxuries of life, and this was evidenced again these past two weekends in the grandness of each of the bride’s wedding ceremony and reception. While the sheer jaw-dropping setting of each wedding site was - and will be - talked about forever, my fiancé and I were even more touched and awed by the brides themselves. Both brides have an inner and outer beauty, for certain, and the essence of that beauty has its foundation in pure graciousness.

Don’t get me wrong. The wedding ceremony, staging, music, dining, reception, flowers were all stunning – way over the top and not even close to anything we had ever experienced. What struck us most of all though, was the beautiful and genuine authenticity that each bride offered us. Upon seeing me and meeting my fiancé following the ceremony, both brides said – no - exclaimed: “Oh, you must be Geoff; I have heard so much about you. I am so happy for you and Poppy!”

On a day when it is almost mandatory that brides are in the “all-about-me” mode, both of these young lovelies were - like their wedding receptions – over the top in awesomeness and graciousness. What a beautiful testament to their parents and to these two brides for showcasing the beautiful art of graciousness.

And like many Coach Poppy newsletters, it got me to some mindful thinking about graciousness in our everyday lives. It got me to thinking about graciousness today, Veterans Day, and how I was moved to tears in the airport recently when a young husband-father-son-brother returned from service at Chicago’s Midway airport in a wing of the terminal that held about 12 gates. The soldier’s family had gathered, replete with balloons and banners, and the cheering and hugging that occurred spread to all of the gates within a 300 yard radius. Every single passenger stood up, and applauded; and I imagine that all of us had tears in our eyes: tears of gratitude; tears of the human spirit touched; tears that acknowledged and honored all who serve, and tears of grace inherent in the human soul.

When the father of the bride spoke at the reception this past weekend, he honored both his wife and daughter; I couldn’t stop the lump that formed in my throat nor the tears welling in my eyes. Whether it is a bride, Veteran, or ‘veteran friends’ whom we appreciate and honor, we may be surprised to find that the graciousness boomerangs back to us from those whom we are honoring. When we act on the inner grace that we all possess, incredible things can happen; yet nothing as valuable nor stunning, as the authentic engagement of human hearts.

Mindfully Yours,


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