About six weeks ago, I wrote about my trip to the Dale Chihuly exhibit in San Francisco. Nevertheless, I was surprised to open my mailbox this morning and discover a large package from Chihuly Studios. Since I knew I hadn’t ordered anything from there, I thought it might be a belated birthday gift. I was wrong. It was a gift from Chihuly’s executive assistant and included a copy of one his books and a compilation DVD. 

What had prompted this gift? I wasn’t the random winner of a drawing, but the recipient of a thank you that came in response to something I’d sent the artist a couple of months ago. Here’s the original letter I sent:

Like many parents and grandparents, I was delighted to discover your art kit for kids and gave it to my three-year-old granddaughter last Christmas. Long before she was toilet trained, Zoe approached making art with an earnestness and concentration that seemed exceptionally mature. I had also been talking to her about Venice and about your work, which she had seen at Bellagio.

A couple of months ago, Zoe and I began exploring the kit. First we did the Marshmallow Madness exercise and then we went back to her room and talked a little bit about some other things in the book. She turned to a blank page and drew an oval and the little body underneath. I asked what she was doing and she said, “I’m drawing Chihuly as a boy.” While she was working, I said, “You know, Chihuly says he never met a color that he didn’t like.” She didn’t acknowledge that she’d heard me, but kept on working. When I saw the final picture, I knew she had taken in what I said.

So I present to you, a copy of Chihuly as a Boy by Zoe Barron.

Thank you for bringing so much beauty and joy to the world—and inspiring the next generation of artists.

Of course, I was thrilled to get the response, but that wasn’t why I wrote the letter in the first place. Showing appreciation to people who enrich my life is a longtime hobby. Sometimes I get an answer back, but even when I don’t, I know that I’m adding to the pool of kindness in this world. We simply can’t have too much of that.

Genuine giving feeds joyfulness. The more generosity, the greater joy. And we can be more generous than we ever thought possible. ~ Geri Larkin