Sunday, January 30, 2011

Open doors and Other Small Things

Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways it can change someone else's life forever. ~Margaret Cho (b.1968); comedian,actress

My workouts at the gym have gone late into the evening during the past month or two, as I put the miles on training for a ten mile race in San Juan Bautista. One Wednesday night I ran on the treadmill for eight solitary miles and closed the place down. As I dragged myself into the foyer toward the double doors to go home, two men about my age chided each other about their basketball scrimmage. I was a pace or two behind them, so I let them go ahead assuming they would hold one of the doors--or at least not let it slam into me. Hormones must have been overflowing from their game, because they hardly noticed another human was in their midst and both doors clipped me as I tried to squeeze through.

The next night, I had a little stop to make at TJ Maxx on my way home from work to pick up a birthday gift. After
the night before and bumping into the doors under false assumption, I didn't want to embarrass myself so I reached out as another mom entered before me. Surprisingly, she made eye contact and then intentionally held the door for a few extra seconds to give me time to go through. All the mom's poking around at TJ Maxx that evening seemed tired like I was--just trying to do the bare minimum and go home. I was even more tired that night, just from hard work all day, so her gesture energized me just enough to find the birthday gift and head back into traffic.

The following Sunday in church I heard an old friend of mine give a talk about the little things we do to uplift each other, and she cited the example of her mom waving goodbye to the family as they drove down the street after their visits. She had other examples of small acts of redemption we do for each other, things that really make a difference. I thought about my observations over the past two years in this blog. Even though I haven't had the time to write about everything I've witnessed, the constant theme has forced me to look for more good during another somewhat difficult "transition time" in my life.

I was given a thankfulness journal in a church meeting last Fall, so I put it in the driver's door compartment of my car in hopes that I would find a few minutes each day to note some "small things" that others did to uplift me. I find that when I start writing, the list just goes on and on. Those days when guys at the gym let the door slam, or when someone is rude to me on the road, are turned around by so many others who take the time to stop along the way--to open the door, to say hello, and recently to bring a magic Valentine to our house. All are reminders that life is good, and the world is abundant with good people who do good works. The only way to truly appreciate this bounty is to watch for
and take note of all the small things.

Looking for small things you can do?
Check out the Random Acts of Kindness tool.

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