May 20, 2013: Red Carpet Night


Tonight at a plenary meeting, I was reminded of the heartfelt impact of a random act of kindness. The center of our discuss was kindness shared within the service of healthcare; empathy given to those most needy and vulnerable.

This great discussion led me to think of my own life experiences. How acts of kindness were selflessly given to me in the past and the impact left in my own heart. One of particular note came immediately to mind. This act wasn't random. It was intentional. It was a gift of kindness given to me during a difficult time in my life.

On a Friday night in the dead of winter, ten of my sister-in-laws, nieces, and friends (and brother) celebrated a Red Carpet Night with me and for me. Some would say this was just a girls night out, but it was much more than that.

The month prior I had purchased a strapless red gown for my company Christmas party. I was very excited to wear this simple, but classic, red dress with matching shoes. A turn of events occurred just days prior to this party that not only kept me home, but changed my life forever; I filed for divorce.

The unworn dress remained in my closet long after Christmas. It hung as a stark reminder of the loneliness and sadness I felt that holiday season. In an effort to cover up the dull pain, I made light of the situation. A line I used on more than one occasion... "I'm just sad that I wasn't able to wear my red dress". My lame attempt at positivity.

The astute sisterhood comrades who surrounded me saw through my sugar-coating. Over some wine in January 2009, it was decided by the masses that I needed to wear that red dress. Soon an elaborate event was planned around the dress. It was coined Red Carpet Night.

My nieces and their friends were thrilled to revisit their prom days by dressing up in their favorite formals and dolling up each other's hair and makeup. The rest of us like-aged, forty-somethings did the same. And we had a ball. The adults enjoyed drinks and fancy food at Jam's with little Emma tagging along.

There were many pictures and fancy deserts. My brother, Matt, showed up at the end of the night for a surprise visit. We were thrilled. The only thing we were missing were the paparazzi and an actual red carpet. It was a night of no worries; just smiles and laughs on the lighter side of life. The best of nights.

This intentional act of kindness will never be forgotten and has been a lesson to me as well. The only skill necessary as the giver is an open and kind heart. I am grateful for being the recipient. Now it is my turn to continually look for ways to pay it forward.  

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