Sometimes you just can’t fake happy.
You’ve suffered a loss that’s just too big.
A friend reminded me of that this week.
Got me thinking back to a time a few years back when my best lady friends were gathered around a dining room table celebrating my birthday.
As often happens, we each went around sharing updates on our lives.
“Taking a trip to France this summer,” Tricia beamed.
“New job is going great,” Kim shared.
Yeah, we’re a pretty upbeat bunch.
Admittedly, all the “up” can be a bit much.
Which leads me to Gracie and her turn.
“I’m bitter!” she announced bringing our positivity to an abrupt halt.
In truth, I think she scowled, “I’m #%(#$ bitter!” But I’ll clean the story up for purposes of sharing in this family newspaper.
“Henry got the Christmas China.”
“Henry,” we knew was Gracie’s soon-to-be ex-husband. The cheating spouse who managed to break her heart and finances.
Talk about talent.
“The house, the 401K, the boat,” I was willing to let all of it go,” she shared. “But the Christmas China? The #(#*%* Christmas China? I loved those dishes!”
I had to go look up, “Spode Christmas China” to appreciate the beauty of the white plates with Christmas trees on the front. Apparently, this is a big thing to a lot of folks come holiday time. Certainly, was to Gracie.
Fast forward a few months, my friend, Dana, who was also at that party, but knows Gracie only casually through me, got a call from her mother who was working her way around an antique store in a small Tennessee town.
“Dana,” she said in her Southern drawl, “They have the most beautiful set of Spode Christmas China for a really great price. I thought you might like a set.”
Dana’s heart lit up like a Christmas tree.
“Whatever you do, buy that China right away!” Dana told her mother.
It was April by the time that China made its way from Tennessee to Dana to Gracie.
First thing she did was set out the plates on the wobbly table in her small apartment.
“These are the most beautiful dishes I’ve ever seen,” Gracie squealed. “The pattern is even prettier than the dishes I lost and this set has more pieces!”
Don’t you know those dishes sat out on Gracie’s table for that entire year.
“Because I can,” she exhaled.
I believe they were the first ray of sunshine in one of the darkest chapters of Gracie’s life. When she had to rebuild her life, her heart, her finances, her home.
I shared the story of the Christmas China the other day with a friend who is suffering a new loss.
She can’t fake happy right now.
But she loved Gracie’s story.
Gracie, who is now married to an awesome guy.
We raised a toast to friends who give us a moment to be bitter.
Who call in small miracles to help us fill in our empty spaces.
And of course, to Christmas China.
Find more uplifting stories on my website, DarynKagan.com