This past Christmas, I bought three Giving Keys upon the recommendation of a friend. One was for my younger sister, Kristen (FAITH) one was for my 22 year old first cousin, Valerie (LOVE) and one, of course, was for me (STRENGTH). When they opened their keys on Christmas Day, I explained the concept of paying their word forward to someone who needs it more than they do, never guessing the impact these pieces of jewelry would soon have on our lives.
Two weeks later, I received a text from Valerie that she had given her key bracelet to a friend at her university that has had a rough life. Valerie told me that she knew her friend needed to be shown love and The Giving Keys was the perfect small gesture for her friend.
I remember feeling slightly disappointed that Valerie didn't keep her key longer as I had intended the gift be for her and I would have liked her to hold onto it for longer that a couple of weeks.
Then, on June 28th, the world as my family knew it forever changed. My uncle, Valerie's father, died suddenly and unexpectedly. Valerie and her mother came home to find her dad in the most devastating way possible - dead on the floor. That day my family flocked to be at Valerie and her mother's side and I will never forget the moment my sister put her FAITH necklace around my cousin's neck and told her to have faith that she will get through this. It was easily one of the most impactful moments of all of our lives and at that moment that small necklace became the biggest and most symbolic pieces of jewelry between the three of us.
To this day, Valerie has not gone a day without her FAITH necklace and even some days wraps it around her wrist as a bracelet. Kristen's 24th birthday is the 24th of this month and I know without a doubt I will be purchasing her a new word, not to replace the one she gave Valerie, but to remind her of the beauty of her selflessness. The word I chose for her this time around is INSPIRE.