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The Diamond Earrings

MA and John old selfie so sweet

The Diamond Earrings

MA & John, 1990

“Knowledge is knowing what to say. Wisdom is knowing when to say it.”

– Anon

To be honest, when I first opened the box all those years ago and saw the diamond stud earrings, my first thought was, “Geez, they’re a little small.”

Of course, I didn’t say that out loud to the gift-giver—my boyfriend, John. But he must have caught a glimpse of disappointment on my face because he quickly said, “I’m sorry the diamonds are so small. I know how much you wanted diamond earrings…but that’s all I could afford.”

“I love them!” I said and threw my arms around him.

And I did love them. And I loved him. But I never wore the earrings much. I don’t know why.

That was thirty years ago. And boy, have I ever learned an awful lot about gifts—and the love behind them—since then.

That boyfriend eventually became my husband. Then he became a police officer. Then he died in the line of duty. And because of that, I was entitled to receive his pay cheque, then pension, for the rest of my life. He was only thirty-two when he died. We both were. Longevity runs in my family. I could easily live well into my nineties. Feel free to do the math.

In other words, his line of duty death meant that, over the course of my lifetime, I will receive a rather substantial sum of money.

John’s death broke my heart. But my heart has healed…a long time ago.

Twenty-one years have passed (September 29th, 2021 is the twenty-first anniversary of his death) and I admit that his death still pays for my life…literally. The career path I have chosen seems to be a little slow in the earnings department. But I suspect there is a reason for that. I just don’t know what it is. Yet.

No, I don’t have John. But there is nothing I can do to change that. What I can do, however, and have done, is create a life I love by embracing the financial freedom his death gave me and running with it…like a pink gazelle.

I am extremely grateful for many aspects of my life—but to be able to do the work I choose to do, versus work I am paid to do, is an unbelievable gift. Far greater than diamonds…of any size.

I was sorting through my jewelry the other day and came across those tiny diamond stud earrings.

When I saw them, I broke into a big smile and immediately put them on. I still love them. And I’ve been wearing them quite a bit. Not only are they the perfect size 🙂 they are also a beautiful reminder of the importance of giving gifts we can afford to give…material gifts, yes, but also our time, love, attention, listening ear, words of encouragement, guidance and wisdom.

To be honest, the greatest gift John ever gave me was tough love. Click To Tweet

Shortly before he died, we’d had an argument about me procrastinating on my writing. I’d been complaining (again) about not having time to write. He told me to make the time. If writing was truly important to me, then it was up to ME to make it a priority.

We all know this. But when those are pretty much the last words you hear from your loved one, their power is taken to a whole new level. John’s parting words of wisdom was the rocket launch I obviously needed to start me on my trajectory as a writer.

For on the flip side of giving is, of course, receiving.

I could have chosen not to have heard what he was trying to say. I could have spent the rest of my life being angry at him for having the audacity to hold a mirror up in front of me, so that I could see my excuses for what they really were: fear of failure, unwillingness to do the work & doubt in my ability.

That argument was a dreadful way to end our marriage. But it was also a tremendous gift. For all the money in the world won’t bring us happiness if we don’t know how to spend our days wisely…with purpose, passion & peace.

And maybe, just maybe, the work I am “choosing” to do in the time my financial situation has given me is the work I am supposed to be doing? After all, I am being paid…just from a rather unconventional source.

How about you?

What was the greatest gift someone gave you? Click To Tweet

Or…what gift might you need to give someone?

Take care, stay well & thanks for reading!

Maryanne Pope is the author of “A Widow’s Awakening.” She also writes screenplays, playscripts and blogs. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and a Director with the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive her blog, “Weekly Words of Wisdom,” please subscribe here.

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