Say yes to the small gifts so you can receive the big gifts coming your way

The cabinets, workbench and my dad, circa late 70s.

The cabinets, workbench and my dad, circa late 70s.

The other day I was taking my foster puppy to her new adopters’ home and realized I was about a quarter of a mile from the home I grew up in. After delivering the foster puppy, I decided the only logical thing to do was to see the old house and maybe take a picture and send it to my siblings.

I grew up in Manchester, Missouri when our house was the edge of civilization. We were the first owners of a two-story home bounded Manchester Road, older ranch style homes and cornfields. It had been years since I was near my childhood home so I took a slow drive past the house, taking it everything that felt new and old at the same time. There was a man doing yard work, and because the house is on a court with only seven homes, and because I wanted to dial down my creep factor, I rolled down the window and explained why I was taking pictures driving slowly past his house.

“Hi! I am just driving by. I found myself in the neighborhood. This is the house I grew up in. I lived here from when I was four until I went to college.”

He replied: “Would you like to come in?”

My response: Are you kidding me! Heck yeah!

I came in and made sure he absolutely knew I wasn’t a creeper. I told stories of which bedrooms I occupied, what was new to the home and not. He was completely cool with me.

Would you like to see the living room? Yes!

Would you like to see the backyard? Yes!

I told him how my BFF Stevie Craddock and I set the grass on fire while my parents were out of town, about the patio with the pergola where I would kiss my first boyfriend.

Do you want to see the upstairs? YES!

The man and now his wife were taking me upstairs. The two teens in the home were remarkably unfazed by the babbling lady saying “This was my room when I grew up!” The back bedroom I shared with my sister, the front bedroom I had to myself after two siblings moved out.

We talked kitchen: my mom hated the western sun in the the kitchen window and so did the wife. We talked flooring and countertops. I remember linoleum and formica. Now it’s hardwood and granite.

Then they asked if I wanted to see the basement.

Yes, I would love to.

Our basement was legendary. My dad turned half of it into a bar full of Anheuser-Busch paraphernalia. There was a full bar with beer on tap, pool table, player piano, shuffle board table and stained glass lamps. We had parties and family gatherings there. That side was stripped of all manner of the rathskeller it once was. It was now a finished family room and in-home daycare.

They asked if I wanted to see the other side of the basement.

Yes, I would love to. This is the side you keep all your junk and I figured they would never let me in there. But they did. The door opened and I saw them…the storage cabinets my dad built in the early 70s. No one had updated this space since we lived here.

I moved toward the cabinets and started to cry. I put my hands on the cabinets and I could feel my dad. I felt his energy in me, through me. I am a stranger off the street and this family lovingly and patiently lets me explore their home. They stepped back and let me have my moment.

I had not felt this close to my dad since he would come to me in my dreams after he died in 2008. These cabinets once held the best of family memories: the lights and ornaments of Christmas and the towels and lawn chairs of Ocean City beach vacations. They held my parents courtship memories: dance cards and war time letters. They also held the case of Jack Daniels my dad got every year for Christmas that I would sell for $10 per bottle until my dad got wind of my low level underage liquor store and put a stop to that.

The untouched basement still held all manner of my Dad’s quirks. His need to paint all trim (included the ceiling tile frame!), the red plexiglass fake windows that would light up the bar side of the basement with that seedy tavern glow, the brick wallpaper…because of course you wallpaper the basement, because you are Lou Dersch.

Then I saw the back room that was a band rehearsal space for my brother the drummer then my dad’s workshop.

Can I see that room? Yes.

There was his workbench. The same gray color. It was still a workbench. More crying as I shared stories of when I would sneak down into the band room and pretend I was Stevie Nicks in Fleetwood Mac. I wept for my parents, who were such huge personalities in our life and created a hole that will never be filled, only narrowed. I wept for the kindness of strangers to give me this gift.

I took pictures of everything. I hugged the family. I texted my siblings from the car, my hands shaking because I was so full of emotion. Sometimes I remember the grim times of my life and forget the joys. That day, all I felt was the joy of my family and the energy of life that is not bound by time or body. I allowed more healing and growth in those 10 minutes than in years of therapy.

Here’s what I learned that day. SAY YES. Receive the gifts before you.

I said YES. I said yes to myself to take the time to go see the home. I said yes to myself to take a photo. I said yes to myself to yell out my car window. Then I said yes to them. Do you want to come in? YES! I could have easily said, “Oh no I couldn’t intrude.” I said yes. I said yes to feeling something deep and not turning away from the pain of grief and loss. I said yes to reframing my past experiences to serve me better.

I said yes to receiving all the gifts that came my way that day.

I said yes to the small gifts of an invitation and then said yes to the big gifts of healing and growth.

I teach clients how to receive. As nonprofits, we focus on giving. We are givers. We love to help. We sometimes can’t receive. When you say yes to the small gifts: a compliment, a cup of coffee, an invitation, you can say yes to big gifts coming your way. Say yes. Without hesitation or reservation. Yes.

Then say thank you. I sent a thank you note and a gift card to a friend’s restaurant. I sent the adopter a text thanking them for giving me the opportunity. I thanked the forces around me for bringing this into my life.

Say yes to the possibility and potential that exists all around you. Then get ready to receive.

Here’s a tool to help you do that. This is a 30 Day Abundance Tracker. Record all the gifts that come into your life. The cashier at Walgreens used a $5 coupon for me! The guy in front of me paid for my coffee! My friend bought me drinks or lunch. I got paid. I got a new donor. A coworker offered to help with a project. Record what you have instead of what you lack so you can receive more.

Maryanne Dersch