I am in the process of transitioning to a new team at work. My current (soon to be ‘former’) team has a tradition that when someone in the group moves to a new area, a celebration is held where people can gather to honor the team member who is leaving. Typically at these events small fun tokens of luck and cheer are given, and a few kind words or a bit of sage advice are shared.
Yesterday my team held such an event for me. As is my custom, I asked that people refrain from buying me trinkets, and instead donate any money they would have spent to a charity or cause of their choice. If people felt compelled to give me something tangible, I asked that they write a card instead. (I’m a sucker for stationary, and I deeply value the written word. [Probably no surprise on that one, eh?]) 😉
Over the course of a meal, various colleagues that I have worked with for a period of time shared unbelievably kind words with me. They each articulated what my professional and/or personal relationship has meant to them, what they value about me, how I touched their lives in some way big or small… and it was so, so beautiful. Truly. I was genuinely moved by the expressions of kindness, care, and compassion that were given to me; my heart felt cradled in grace – like an infant being soothingly rocked.
My team also honored my ‘no gifts’ request, and instead made donations to three wonderful organizations:
- Students First (dedicated to transforming public education)
- VH1 Save The Music (dedicated to restoring instrumental music education in public schools)
- World Vision (dedicated to helping children across the globe)
As the event came to a close, many people in the room gave me a card just before we all parted ways; and last night, I spent quite a lot of time reading the personal sentiments, and delighting in the spirit infused in them.
Here’s to my team – with heartfelt thanks.