There is a time and a place for everything. Never has this phrase hit me so square between the eyes than it did a couple of weeks ago.
A friend of mine - one that I dearly wish I'd gotten the chance to know better - passed away shortly before Christmas and, several days after, I attended his memorial service. As I sat in my folding chair, among other friends who, I knew, were hurting as much as I was, I reached into my purse to grab a tissue.
I'm a crier. Happy, sad, whatever. I'll probably shed a tear.
But as I tugged the bag of Kleenex out of my purse - one I'd grabbed haphazardly as I walked out the door - I realized the tissues were bright yellow, with little Christmas trees printed on each sheet.
Normally I'd smile and think about how I needed to grow up a little. But this time it wasn't so funny. I shrank back, attempting to fold my tissue inside-out as fast as I could so that it could masquerade as a plain, normal one.
It just didn't seem like the time to be bright and cheery.
As I sat there, though, listening to my friend's family talk lovingly about him and share the goofy stories only a dad or a best friend knows, I thought about this a bit more.
I'm going to remember Kevin for all of the wonderfully weird quirks he had. Because it's all of our quirks that make us who we are.
What I will always remember about Kevin is the fact that he never learned to hold his pencil properly and never bothered to remember the numerals in a person's phone number. He knew them by the words the numbers spelled out. ("Mine spells out dog tear," he told me when I was programming him into my cell phone.) And he could sing some mean karaoke.
So I don't think he would have minded me carrying my too-cheery-for-the-occasion Kleenex to his memorial service. In fact, I think he would have applauded it.
That's not to say I'll be quick to carry them to another somber event again. But it just led me to believe that - hey - it's just one of my quirks.
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