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Gift of Hope

After the initial shock of 2020 failing to meet my “best year ever” expectations, I took every opportunity to try and accomplish the missed resolutions of years gone by.

It began with pretending that I was on the Great British Baking Show. Desserts abounded and my waistline followed suit. The things I made were so good; I wasn’t mad.

Then came the explorations with masks. If there was a cool mask on Facebook, I bought it. If there was an easy pattern, I used it. Then I wore my new acquisitions in public. The entire time, I explained to people I saw in our little town store. ” I have to practice. Otherwise, I’ll blow it when it’s really important.”

A concerned frown changed to a silly grin. “Oh, then you’d be okay with me telling you that your mask is upside down?”

Yes, I was okay with it. We may have laughed a little too hard. But we needed the mirth.

Then there was the phase where I decided to try gardening. I planted seventy-two seeds. My over-imaginative mind justified it. If there was a food shortage, we’d have tons of lettuce, carrots, onions, corn, beans, collard green, peppers, parsley, sage, basil, rosemary, and some flowers to decorate the table. The seedlings graduated to solo cups, and Mr. Green Jeans couldn’t have been any prouder than me.

On the last week of school, I brought my principal a present. With all the flourish of an HGTV host, I presented him with a basil plant. “It’s a symbol of hope!”

Basil is the one in the middle.

He gave me the “Oh this is nice,” smile teachers give to kids when they don’t know what the present is, but know it is important.

I left his office thinking, “That plant is going to die.”

All summer, I mourned Basil’s short life. Especially, after I personally killed sixty-eight(68) of his seedling siblings.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into the principal’s office and Basil was alive, and well, and thriving. I blurted mid-conversation, “Basil.”

I couldn’t help it. My “symbol for hope,” lived.

My principal talked for a moment about how he took care of Basil. He learned storytelling over the summer and included the drama befitting an engaging story. There were a couple of times when the plant wilted. Then the happy ending: it bounced back after he watered it.

We resumed our discussion about the plan to keep the school safe. That side trip to talk about Basil was an inconsequential conversation to him, but it changed the landscape of my world.

There are many times when my principal doesn’t get me. It’s a side of effect of me being a tad quirky. This time he did.

There in front of us was physical evidence that he knew to nurture the gift. He could have thrown it away, and I’d have never known. He could have taken it home and given it to his wife.

Basil was the metaphorical picture on the refrigerator. My gift mattered.

In that moment, worries about returning to school subsided. The leader of our ship cared about the little things. This led me to the wholehearted belief that he was going to try to do right by our school community.

When you think about it, that’s all we can really ask of a person.

I’ll close here, reader with a hope for you. I hope you see the signs that what you have to offer the world matters. I also hope people see that you are trying. Lastly, may there be evidence of others doing the same.

Until the next note,

Merri

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