"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Giving Smiles in Passing
mis-for-tune Function: noun
Date: 15th century
1 a : an event or conjunction of events that causes an unfortunate or distressing result : bad luck b : an unhappy situation
2 : a distressing or unfortunate incident or event
3 : something in other people that makes me want to do everything I can to help.
I think I might have mentioned before that compassion is one of my big emotions.
I might not have made it clear as to HOW big. Let's just say that I have seriously considered being a bone marrow donor for total strangers. And let's add that I have not ruled that out, yet.
I have never been moved to any sort of major action by a person who is not actively trying as best they can to get out of a situation. The result they are able to achieve is not important to me, its the desire that I focus on. Of course, I know that many times people get to the point where even that desire is quashed, and they are helpless, but their very acceptance of that fact tells me they are ready for any sort of help that they can get.
And we never really know how badly people around us are hurting.
Two days ago, I was at a meeting and a young lady that I know gave the opening talk. It was the first time I had seen her address a group, and she was calm, controlled, comfortable. Now, I knew that this young lady had always held blue collar jobs and had no public speaking experience, but she handled it like a pro.
What I did not know was that she was in the midst of a divorce. Not only that, but her husband was in jail for murder. And not only that, but as a result he was being dishonorably discharged from the service, and all of the veteran's benefits, including her insurance, was going to go away. She has kids, at least one, that she loves extravagantly.
And on top of all of that, she had lost her job.
And there she was, to all appearances without a care in the world.
Was she upset? Sure. Her life was going to pieces like a plane hitting a mountain. But she was holding it together.
I wanted so badly to help her, to offer anything I could. A job, a contact, anything. But I did not have anything that would work, nothing that would help. I think she knew that I would have offered had I been able.
Sometimes, all a person needs is a kind word, a moment that says to them "You are here, I see you, and you mean something." I always try to hand those moments out whenever I can. All the clerks at the stores immediately smile when I walk in, all the nurses at the doctor's offices take time to chat, even the neighbors that don't get along with each other all greet me with a smile and a wave and a few minutes of conversation, because that is how I treat them in return.
A smile and a kind word. So little effort, and so valuable.
What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.
Joseph Addison (1672 - 1719)