Make My Day

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Make My Day

A friend confided that before we met her life was in a very bad place. Sad and angry she did everything she could to avoid her problems. She felt alone, isolated, and unloved. Then, several years ago, she had a car accident. She survived by a series of millimeters, milliseconds, and split decisions. Her face went into the windshield. Badly cut and bruised, she managed to pull her face out of the shattered glass and unwedge herself from the wreckage. She sat dazed on the curb next to her immobilized vehicle.

Nearby neighbors called 911. Then they came to check on her bringing with them wet clothes she could use to wipe the blood from her face and eyes. She said they were the softest clothes she’d ever touched and that the water was the most perfect temperature. As she cleaned her self up, something inside her shifted. In that moment of kindness from strangers, she felt nurtured and loved. She realized that people cared about her. Her life began to change.

I’ve been overwhelmed with kind gestures over the past months and this made me begin to think, much like the chicken and the egg, which came first the kindness or my willingness to accept it.

I can take care of myself. I can take care of you. I can manage just fine, thank you very much. Until, I came to a place and a time where I couldn’t. I finally got to a point where I HAD to ask for help. Fearful and desperate, I made the smallest request that I could. I asked a few friends for prayer and it came and I was humbled. Something inside me shifted and ever since that moment where I felt so trapped that all I could do was type out a few measly requests for prayer my life began to change.

But sometimes change comes slowly…

I was at the grocery store. As I unloaded my items on the conveyer, the bagger asked me if I was having a party.  I responded that one of my kids was having friends over. As I watched to total run up, he asked if my child went to his high school. I said, “yes.” As I wiggled my debit card out of my wallet, he asked what grade. Couldn’t this young man see I was trying to check out? Irritated, I started to respond tersly, but I caught myself.

I stopped what I was doing, looked the young man bagging my groceries full in the face, and told him my child’s grade. Then I asked his grade. The young man told me he was a senior. I commented on the exciting year he must be having. He grinned. Then I asked if he did any sports. He said he’s a hockey player. Wow, my neighbor’s son plays hockey. I asked if he knew the son. He did. He said the boy’s a crazy-good hockey player. He said I should come to a hockey game next season, as they are free and the ice rink is close. I agreed that I should. As he bagged my groceries and I ran my debit card through the machine, we continued to chat and parted a few moments later, both of us grinning.

I have no idea if my taking the time to talk to him had any impact on his day. But it sure had a big impact on mine. I think I go so fast so much of the time and keep myself so busy that I just don’t notice people like the young man and all the others who are working really, really hard to make my day.

I know the kindness isn’t always there. I know that there are people who are so hurt and broken that they don’t always have the ability to be kind. I also know many people just like me who are  rushing too quickly through their days to spare even a moment. But when the kindness is there, when an high school senior wants to talk to me about hockey, when my friend wants to grab a cup of coffee and chat, when my husband brings me lunch, when my children try to make me laugh, am I even paying attention? Is the kindness, the love, the support even registering with me?

What I realize is this, I need to look for the kindness every day and make the time to revel in it when it shows up. I need to be accepting of and grateful for those who care enough to make my day brighter. I need to be sure to keep my focus on the good I can do. At the end of the day, what I focus on is the experience and life I get.

2 Comments

  1. It’s the little things, isn’t it? I try to make a point to look people right in the eye… and to remember a name if I can. My check out guy is Eric. He’s been at Kroger’s ever since I was in college. He can’t be much older than me. I’d love to tell you I’ve known his name for years… it’s really only been in the past few months.
    What a great employee that store has. It’s not everyone, especially in a job like that, that has youths who are comfortable enough with themselves to strike up a conversation. Kudos for engaging. What a blessing that turned out to be… for both of you!

    • It is the little things. The trick for me is to keep engaging.

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