The gift that keeps giving

My magpie instincts to desire shiny and sparkly things has dwindled since having MND. They fail to provide a rush of excitement anymore. My husband asked me what I would like for Christmas this year… The thing is, I don’t want or need any more materialistic objects. What I really really want, I probably won’t see in my life time; it still requires years of research and endless funding.

So what gives me a rush of excitement and joy nowadays? My family and friends of course! Interacting with others fulfills that rush of excitement and leaves me feeling elated and satisfied.

Paralysed inside my MND-ravished body, I have the opportunity to observe and analyse people like never before (maniacal laugh, bwahahahahaha!).  I no longer blend in to a crowd; I attract attention whether I like it or not. But how people react to me is fascinating: It’s either really positive or awful. The people who react positively are far more interesting because they are rare. They have the ability to see beyond my “differences” and make that human connection. I have thought about it a lot and I believe they have a higher aptitude for emotional intelligence.

So how do you know if someone has a high level of emotional intelligence? Well… you will feel it before you realise it. Emotionally intelligent people handle every interaction with kindness and empathy, thus creating positive situations wherever they go.

Being on the receiving end of kindness from a stranger is especially heart warming and will certainly make your day. For me they have left a lasting impact…

* For the person who stops in their tracks and shames others in to stopping too just to give me the red carpet treatment when I pass by them.
* For the waiting staff who welcome me, in my big and bulky wheelchair and make no deal about moving half the restaurant around to make sure I get a suitable table.
* For the salesperson who wrote a note and placed it within my purchase just to tell me they really enjoyed interacting with me.
* For the person who heard my story and brought their award-winning restaurant to my home.

Thank you for teaching me that kindness is truly the highest form of wisdom.

This Christmas and New Year use your emotional intelligence for every encounter. This way you’re giving people something money can’t buy and will be remembered way beyond Christmas Day. Spread copious amounts of kindness on your family, friends and more importantly random strangers. The world is crying out for kindness and empathy like never before. Give it a go and see what happens.

Sharon x

For Finn, the bravest young warrior I ever knew.

Author: Sharon Friel

In 2012 at the age of 38, I was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease/ALS. A death sentence with an expected term of 1,000 days; I've since bypassed my expiry date. Although paralyzed from the shoulders down and voiceless, I am still here, still living my life. Wife, mother, daughter and sister; family is what makes this all bearable. Before MND hijacked my life, I was CEO/Manager of a Credit Union and loved exploring the outdoors - cycling, walking and kayaking.

8 thoughts on “The gift that keeps giving”

  1. Such great advice to go by and a lovely tone to set for the Christmas holiday. Your powers of observation are superhuman and it is so wonderful to hear your take on life. I do wish for you a magical Xmas, full of joy and love, and I can’t wait to see you soon. Love you, sis xoxo N

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You write with such honesty and intelligence, cutting to the core of what is emportant, empathy and understanding. You are the sparkle and glimmer that your family and friends reflect in although understanbly it hard for you to seek out something that shines. You make us smile and reflect upon things and yes it is you that shines. I hope you can feel the big hugs and wartmth I send.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are absolutely right ­when I was very young my favourite Auntie ­ a huge influence on me had a simple philosophy for life ³ its nice to be nice, it costs nothing but the payback starts right away !.

    Lovely piece and collection of thoughts Sharon . Keep safe C

    From: Wheelie me – Still me! Reply-To: Wheelie me – Still me! Date: Saturday 24 December 2016 at 18:55 To: Christopher Foley Subject: [New post] The gift that keeps giving Sharon Friel posted: “My magpie instincts to desire shiny and sparkly things has dwindled since having MND. They fail to provide a rush of excitement anymore. My husband asked me what I would like for Christmas this year… The thing is, I don’t want or need any more materiali”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sharon,
    A great article and certainly one to ponder…Once again you have reminded us of what is important in life. Acts of kindness in life sometimes seem so rare, yet reading your many examples has shown this is not always the case, and it is great to see that. So many kind and understanding people out there, that make such a difference . Also, you are right about the importance of having friends and family. it is something we often take for granted and shouldn’t.
    Sending you lots of love, and not just for Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks Sharon for your reminder at this special time of year of what life is about.

    Hope Santa brought his magic to Senan and his excitement created a real sparkle for you all. love and best wishes for 2017. xx Phyllis Murphy

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What inspiring words and a great reminder of what the Christmas season is really all about. You write with such honesty and intelligence and your blog is just incredibly inspiring for those reading your words. Because of this, I have nominated you for a ‘One Lovely Blog Award’ for your blog and for your efforts in raising awareness of MND. Check it out:

    Liked by 1 person

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