One chilly morning the kids and I were waving goodbye to Ben as he walked to the train station.
As he disappeared up the street, one of our neighbours was coming home from her morning walk and stopped to say hello. She made comment about how cute we looked, huddled together on the front steps. (I’m quite certain she was talking about the kids specifically – I had magnificent bedhead and BettyBoop pyjamas on). Then she said something that amazed me.
“You know, I get so much joy from watching your family.”
A few weeks earlier she had watched us playing in the autumn leaves on the front lawn.
“I called my mum to tell her what I was watching. It made my day and hers.”
We Are All Connected
I found it incredible that we live so close to this lady, but had no idea we impacted her life at all. Aside from the occasional chat across the fence, a friendly wave, a “Merry Christmas”, we are essentially strangers.
And yet there it was, undeniable proof that we are all connected. Not only to our neighbours, friends and relatives, but to the ever-widening circles that ripple out from them. We can and do make a difference in other people’s lives. We may never know it, but our interactions leave an unmistakable imprint on others. Just as their interactions impact us.
Yes, this is a small story about a small interaction. But sometimes these small moments can mean the most – even if we aren’t aware of it.
This week, think about the impact these small gestures could make on a stranger:
- A genuine smile given freely may brighten a lonely man’s morning.
- Directly looking in the eyes of your friend as you ask, “How are you?” may be all she needs to feel needed, heard and loved.
- Comforting a flustered mother with a gentle, “Don’t worry, we’ve all been there,” may be enough for her to get through a difficult day without losing it.
- Offering kindness where someone may have expected anger may help improve their self-esteem.
Or, these gestures may have no impact at all. But you do them, you offer them, you carry them out because you understand that we are all connected. And we simply never know when something we do or say could make an enormous difference in someone’s life.
“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”
When was the last time a stranger impacted positively on your life? Have you paid it forward yet?