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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Just had to share a moment that is still bringing a small lump to my throat when I think of it.

I’d just got back from another amazing week at Serenity Retreat and even at Gatwick Airport a little of the energy our workshop had generated seemed to be in the air. We arrived early, there wasn’t even a trace of a queue at passport control and no-one glaring at us in the customs hall.

As I emerged into the greetings area I spotted three young children, each fidgeting with excitement and holding a hand drawn sign, which together spelt out ‘Welcome’ ‘Home’ ‘Nana’ . Someone was in for a lovely welcome, as were many others judging from the eagle eyed relatives and friends lining the barriers. I’ll let you into a secret here: I’m such a sucker for the emotion of such homecomings that I almost always plan to arrive half an hour early to meet any flight so that I can enjoy the people rushing into each other’s arms, the hugs and flowers and tears of homecoming.

Mine had been a working trip, and one I’ve now made many times, so there was no-one to greet me. Or so I thought.

I was wrong.  It was the last day of the Paralympics and the army of volunteers who have given up their holidays to welcome the world to London were still in attendance.

As I headed beyond the barriers a group of three London 2012 hosts, dressed in the distinctive pink and purple I’d only seen in TV images, caught my eye and beamed broadly at me.

“WELCOME HOME,” they said with shining eyes and big grins.

“Thank you.” I smiled back. It was something so simple and yet the joy and sense of connection it fired in me was enormous. The joy of being welcomed. The pleasure of connecting to others through a smile. My gratitude to them for that act of kindness, and no doubt thousands more over the last six weeks.

It was a reminder that sometimes the smallest acts can make more difference than we ever know. Why not dust off your copy of Have the Best Year of your Life and choose an activity in the ‘give’ category to practice right now?

Posted by Jane Matthews on 09/11 at 07:46 AM
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