Like many of you, I have been overwhelmed by the terrible things that are taking place around us. I was discussing these many events yesterday with a dear friend. She said to me “The world needs to change and we need to change it.”
It got me thinking… Can the power of one really make a difference? So today I decided to take my own advice. I smiled and wished everyone I made eye contact with “Merry Christmas.” The first two people I ran into were startled by my raspy, ill sounding voice. But they did smile back and wished me the same.
While shopping at Wal-mart, I was reaching for an item that was located precariously high on a shelf. It was a large heavy box that was a little beyond my capability. After a moment of frustration, I flagged down a super friendly “Wal-mart Associate” and asked for assistance. She frowned at me, as I had apparently caught her in mid-stride stomping off to another department. She responded with a huff and said “Well… I don’t work in this department, but hold on a minute and I’ll get someone to help you.” As she reached for her radio to put through a page, an older man came up beside me and said “That’s okay sweetheart. I’ll get it down for you.” The friendly Wal-mart personnel yelled “No sir, I can’t let you do that!” He smiled at her, ignored her statement and reached up to get the big box. My Wal-mart friend stomped away in the direction she was originally going. I helped him juggle the cumbersome package into the cart, all the while thanking him profusely. When our task was complete, he smiled at me and said “No problem at all sweetheart. Have yourself a Merry Christmas.” I thanked him again and wished him the same.
I finished my tasks at the store, dodging stressed shoppers and their wildly wheeling shopping carts and headed to the parking lot. I began loading my box and other goodies into my car. Struggling to cram the box into the vehicle on my own (a real site for anyone driving by), I stopped and took a deep, calming breath before a litany of profanity came flying out of my mouth. That’s when another kind stranger came up to me and said “Looks like you need a hand there.” This nice man grab the box and fought for its place in my car amongst 3 car seats and other packages. I thanked him repeatedly and wished him the happiest of holidays.
I locked my car and started walking to another store in the plaza thinking… two very kind strangers did the smallest thing and have made my day. So simple.
In the next store, I gathered what I needed and headed to the line. Only two were open and you could see the agitation on faces as they lined up. Another register opened and the clerk announced “I can help someone here.” The people behind me swarmed her like vultures. I hesitated weighing my circumstances… should I stay or should I go. When the man ahead of me turned and said “I have more than you, go on ahead of me.” Out of all those people… one simple act of kindness. Again, I found myself thanking a stranger for his thoughtfulness.
That was three for me today. I have been all ready to write about the comical side of stressful holiday shopping this season. Instead I was overcome by the gentle kindness three individuals showed me. Small things really make a difference. I intend to pay it forward. Not just at Christmas, but all year. My message may at times be mean. However, today it’s about compassion and kindness. I have a great deal of compassion and am kind to those who show kindness to me and others.
So smile even when you’re tired. Grab a box for someone who can’t reach it. Hold the door for others. Give up your seat in a crowed space. Most of all remember your blessings and be thankful for them everyday. Your “one” will become thousands. I believe that.
I wish you and yours many blessings this holiday season. May peace and joy fill your life and the lives of those you love.