One of my colleagues is having a baby. To help her celebrate, today my work team gave the mom-to-be a surprise shower over the lunch hour.
A few of my peers and I arrived to the conference room early to help set-up and decorate. The team decided to make the meal an intimate, personal, casual affair – so we opted for a cozy potluck rather than a formal lunch at a restaurant.
As people brought in various food items to share, I placed them on the far end of a big table. The theme for the meal was “sandwiches” (the mom-to-be’s lunch item of choice), so one of the items in our collection of goodies was lunchmeat.
I’m a vegetarian, and the team knows that I choose to not consume meat because of my spiritual beliefs. So as I removed the roast beef, turkey, and ham from their individual packages and placed them on a plate, one of my peers discreetly asked me in a quiet voice, “Stef, are you okay doing that? Would you prefer I do it?”
I was genuinely touched by her attentiveness, her concern, and her compassion. I smiled lightly. I stated that it was okay; I certainly didn’t want to draw any attention to myself, as this day was about our colleague and her baby, and not at all about me and my personal preferences. My peer quickly nodded in a very gentle, understanding way; and the two of us happily continued on with the preparations.
But I was really touched by my peer’s offer. I hold some beliefs that not all people share, or even agree with – and that’s fine, I respect that every person has his/her own individual path. My path isn’t ‘right’ for everyone, it’s just right for me. Still, I am always honored when someone chooses to respect my path, and when they strive to be inclusive and sensitive to my beliefs. It is perhaps one of the ‘best’ ways a person can show that they care for me; and this knowledge makes me feel amazingly special.
P.S. The shower went very well. The mom-to-be was genuinely surprised (which is just super fun!), and truly touched by our actions. It was a lovely lunchtime gathering. : )