I tell it a lot.
It's the story about a woman at a farm stand, late summer, outside of Omaha, Nebraska.
It's a story about the most unusual of friends.
It's a thanksgiving story.
A woman stopped at a farm stand and gathered baskets full of produce - she was staging a magazine photo shoot in a 1910 farmhouse, and needed props for the shoot. While she was gathering her produce, another woman, unusually dressed, came into the barn. This unusual woman would wander through the produce displays, admiring the tomatoes, the beets. She would beam at the carrots. She would pick out a handful of beans, take them to the counter, ask about them, compliment how lovely they were and then return them. Then she'd pick up a small bag of potatoes, take them to the counter, ask about them, compliment how lovely they were, and then return them. Finally, she asked about the okra that was growing by the barn. "It's out of season," the farm stand clerk said. "if you want to pick some yourself, you can have whatever you can pick, no charge." So outside she went, to pick her own okra, leaving behind the beans, the potatoes, the expensive beets...
As the woman from the photo shoot was checking out, she stopped to look back through the barn doors. "Wait," she said, and went back through the aisles again, picking out a handful of beans, a small bag of potatoes, and some beets and carrots. She told the clerk, "Add these to my bill, too." The clerk started to wrap them up with the other photo shoot produce. "No, these are for the woman outside," she said, "But don't tell her I bought them. Please just be sure to give them to her. After I'm gone," she added.
it was a selfless act of reaching out - of giving - regardless. It was a wonderful thing to witness.
So, for this week, Thanksgiving is almost upon us.
And this Thanksgiving, I want to share with you, that in the last few weeks, I have been moved to tears more than once.
I have been moved to tears by people that have stopped, and looked at me.
And then they have asked.
"What are you doing for Thanksgiving?"
And then added, "Come with me on Thanksgiving."
They have looked beyond the quilting. They have looked beyond the neighbor. They have looked beyond the busy. They have looked beyond the every day. And Seen Me. Just me. Only me.
And then they have said, "Come with me - come be a part of my family. We have room enough. We have enough for you too."
What a way to find out who your true friends are. Really.
And like the woman picking okra in the field, sometimes what you find is that it is the most unlikely of persons that reaches out to you. That sees you. That realizes.
This Thanksgiving, I would ask each and every one of you to be that stranger that buys someone those admirable potatoes.
Be that person that looks at another and really sees them.
Be mindful of others' needs.
Thread a needle for a friend.
Sew on a binding for another.
Step out of yourself.
Open your home to someone this season.
Open your heart to someone this season.
Because you just might move someone to tears with your compassion, your kindness, your selflessness.
And you just might get so much more in return by doing so.
This year, when I count my blessings on Thanksgiving, I will count you.
Thank you, my friends.