Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pay it Forward with a Little Compliment

It's been a difficult summer so far. Lots of changes, some work, lots of school for me to finish the teaching credential. It's all too much. The other day I really felt depressed and overwhelmed, searching for a place to make copies on my way to class. When I finally found the copy store, I was a little grumpy but the college-aged guy at the counter went out of his way by setting up the self-service copier for me to get started. As he walked back to his workstation he complimented my eyes. I hoped he was just trying to be nice! Leaving the copy shop, I could see he was giving the same kindness and attention to the next customer--an older gentleman--so I knew he was sincere. The little compliment brought me out of my funk; I was able to make my way to class with a completely new outlook and ability to handle my challenges. It was a reminder to stop worrying about myself and my situation, and think more of others--pay that compliment forward. 

Here we are only two days later and it's tough again. "That's just the way life is", I tell myself. "Let's go enjoy a crepe at the farmers market." As I walked down Second Street in Los Altos toward Main and the Thursday evening farmer's market, I heard a very familiar voice. It turned out to be my most favorite live folk singer in the whole wide world, Suzanne Holland. She's blind, and from South Africa, and she mesmerizes with her ballads as she strums and sings in English, Swedish, and Afrikaans. 

I sat on the corner where I could hear Suzanne and eat my crepe. Then, I remembered the copy clerk and his sincere compliment and how it changed my day. Suzanne started to look tired, she even closed her eyes and acknowledged her fatigue into the microphone. My shyness tempted me to leave the farmers market without saying a word to her. I had already left a dollar in her jar, wasn't that enough? Back to the memory of the copy center guy. Back to my shyness...but I had to do it. I walked over to Suzanne and told her how much I appreciated her music, that I have a cd of hers and I love it, that I met her at another farmers market and she's the best. I felt a little goofy as she reached for my hand, but at the same time I was relieved. And Suzanne played her heart out for the next several songs, she didn't seem tired at all.  

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