from our friend Polly for Easter. Polly is a nun and Easter is, naturally, one of the high points of her year. Polly also makes her own cards.
Over the years we have known her we have had a variety of hand made cards from Polly. They are always lovely. She is very artistic. The cards are usually simple in concept and design but the workmanship is so good that they are taken to another level.
I also have a friend in the United States who makes her own cards. She will sometimes send me one for an occasion that I would not think of. There was one for their Thanksgiving last year and one for Valentine's Day this year. Her Christmas card was a snowflake she had cut herself. They are always lovely too.
I sometimes need to make a card as well. My efforts are not in the least bit artistic. I make no pretence that they are. My cards are literary.
I collect quotations I like. I sometimes save them specifically for people I think they might suit. If someone has a special birthday coming up, such as 60 or 80 or even 100 then I will make a card with that number of quotations on it. I print them off, cut them up and paste them on to cardboard in a random pattern. I have made other cards for things like wedding anniversaries as well. It is fun but, as I said, they are not works of art.
"I would just buy a card," someone else told me. I can understand that. She is not creative in that way.
But then she went on, "Why would anyone bother to do this? It's just a card."
No, it is not just a card. Yes of course buying a card says, "I care enough to send you this" but making the card says "I care enough about you to do this" and sometimes it is nice to be able to do that.
We haved told Polly how much we appreciate the fact that she cared enough to do something like that. We do appreciate it too.
My father gets hand knitted socks given to him each birthday. They are made by another friend of mine who is also very fond of my father. Those socks are special to him and he tells her that. If someone else does something for him he is always careful to acknowledge them too .
I try to be sure I acknowledge people as well. If someone comments here I will try to respond. If someone offers me a ride or does something else for me then I like to offer something in return as well. I know they do not necessarily expect it but it feels right. Saying "thankyou" and "I appreciate it" makes me feel more comfortable.
Not everyone feels like this. I know someone who simply does not thank people. I think she appreciates gifts but she simply does not see it as necessary to say "thankyou". Her behaviour makes other people feel uncomfortable and it can be hurtful.
My father is about to make a gift for someone. We both know that it will be barely acknowledged but that there is an expectation we will give something he has made.
"Why bother?" another friend asked.
My father thought about this and then said, "Because I want to do the right thing."
Later, over lunch, he said to me,
"I sometimes wonder if doing the right thing is just being selfish."
It is an interesting idea.