My last posting emanated from despair of death. That is a bad place to squat. How to get out ? Look up for the light.
To that end, I have some vignettes that make me happy. On their own, they are simply anecdotes. They testify to a greater truth:people are generally good. This is a core belief to me, the original Pollyanna.
Today I am going to mention three little tales to illustrate goodness.
One: A few weeks ago Steve and I were downtown killing time before a family dinner. Being in the vicinity of his former radio station is hard for Steve. He misses the joyful days of radio, mourns its demise. He is learning the TV thing, and the learning curve is intense. He was grumpy and anxious. We decided to walk to dinner, but I needed to find a washroom. As we left the building where FOX is, a gentleman approached Steve and said he was a subscriber, and loved the podcast. These were kind words, at the perfect time. Buttinski that I am, I asked if there was a public washroom in the building. No, the gentleman said, but I was welcome to use his office lavatory. With that, he escorted us through security, up 41 floors to the firm's washrooms, and procured the code to the ladies' room for me. He stayed to talk to Steve before rejoining his wife in the lobby. This kind man was Sam Polsky, of Polsky and Associates. They do TIF work, so there was no client motivation. He simply took time to do a good deed.
Two: My sister Jennifer has been a kindergarten-first grade teacher for 30+ years. Her students stay with her for two years, and she is a surrogate Mom for them. At the end of the day, she is battered- sore everything from arthritis, compounded by never ending needs of little people. Still, when asked to watch 3 of her grandkids for a long weekend, she said yes.(crazy) She was feeling housebound and grocery challenged, and decided to make a brave (crazy) field trip to Super Target with a 5 year old, 3 year old and a 1 year old. Just getting them into the car required feats of engineering. (crazy) She swept her way through the store, loaded her stuff on the conveyer belt, and looked for her wallet. Which was at home. Flummoxed, she begged the clerk to bag and hold her stuff, saying she would drive home and get her card. (crazy) By then, the kids' wiggling, whining and wandering were making her see the folly of her mission. As the clerk took this notion under advisement, the woman behind Jen told the clerk to just put it on her bill, and Jenny could send her a check. (crazy) This is a guardian angel with a visa. She had never laid eyes on my sister , but she took a leap of faith. 30 bucks was the total proffered, and the generosity was priceless. And yes, Jenny has repaid her. We are not gypsies!
Three: Last week in Maine, I was bouncing Henry when a lovely woman walked by with her German Shepherd dog. She was astute enough to compliment Henry for his handsomeness, and then she shared a little bragging about her two grandkids. She would always be their favorite grandmom, she said....because she had Parkinsons, and when she held them, they felt the calming vibration caused by her illness. She smiled so warmly when she told me this that I shifted my bouncing to vibrating, just to test drive the motion on Henry. A challenge can only define us if we let it; we define ourselves by how we respond to challenges. Her sunny demeanor stays in my heart, challenging me to reconfigure life's difficulties as opportunities. Even if you cannot edit out all misery, you can skim it. Or re-imagine it.
SO there are three little moments that made me smile. The real question is whether I create that kind of warmth in the universe. Would I take time for a stranger, offer to loan a harried shopper 30 dollars, or find compensation in tremors? If we all started every day with the goal of providing 3 kindnesses to others- these little gestures could add up to a big thing- a better day, life, world.
I'm working on it , and I will continue to share the moments that testify to kindness, proffered freely. But to all these strangers, sharing when they could have looked away- thank you.