This is a variation on a question that I mull over every time I volunteer to do something over and above what I already have on my plate. How will doing ‘this’ be better than not doing it?
Last week, I ran into my friend Fiona. She was madly getting ready for a knitting retreat that she organizes and something made me offer to bake cookies for her to include in the gift bags they were giving away. This was Tuesday and she needed the cookies by Friday.
Well, Tuesday and Wednesday flew by and I told myself that I would bake the cookies on Thursday. And then Thursday night was upon me and I had plans with friends. I’ll make them tonight when everyone is sleeping, I said to myself. And then it was Friday morning. It was a busy day that had me far from home most of the day. I was under the gun.
Finally I got to work, and so did my mind… What would happen if I sent Fiona a text and said I just didn’t have time? People do that sort of thing all the time, don’t they? Why did I always volunteer myself for stuff like this? I don’t have time for this. I’ve got so many other more important things I should be doing.
The cookies did get made and iced (they were the malted milk cookies from the Kitchen Table Cookbook). Eventually I was in the car with a bag full of individually wrapped cookies and a plateful of extras. My kitchen looked like a bomb had gone off in it and dinner was a big question mark. How could this be a good thing? Sunday morning I opened my email and found this note.
” …we were happy for the much needed break yesterday morning, where we had tea and cookies. After one bite, we both decided the brown sugar and butter cookies were probably the best cookies we had ever had. I then made it my mission to not leave the Briar’s without getting that recipe. It was while chatting with Fiona that I was informed the cookies were not the brilliant work of the Briar’s, but that you had kindly made and brought them for us. She also told me, at that moment, that she never got one before they were gone. I knew, after that, that I would be leaving her my take-home wrapped cookie, just because they were much too delicious to not share.
All that to say they were beyond amazing and your version of icing reminded me of childhood memories of my Mémére’s (maternal grandma) sucre à la crème and that if by chance, you’d be willing to share the cookie recipe with me, I would be very grateful (although I fear my waistline may never forgive you).
All the best, NF”
Needless to say, I was delighted to receive this letter. And humbled. I marveled at the power that one person’s thoughtfulness had on me and I thought about the idea that a batch of homemade cookies can bring strangers together in a shared moment of friendship and giving. Later that night another email, this time from Fiona
“…So I finally made my way home from Pines and Needles. I’m so drained I can’t think straight, and there was one little wrapped Moira cookie in my bag. You just made my heart and tummy full at the same time. I have to tell you, for your great generosity for sharing your heart and your talents, I am so grateful that you are my friend! With tears in my eyes; THANK YOU! FI”
Wow. One cookie, just one… made by me, shared by a stranger, found by a friend… elicited a raft of goodwill and joy. If one cookie has that kind of effect, maybe a whole batch of cookies does have the power to change the world.