I often wonder how different the world would be if more people deferred from their ‘calendar’ long enough to change a life. Not just any life. Not a specific life with intended purpose, but someone random.
This thought was prompted and spurred a bit more recently as I reflected on the selflessness of some close friends. The beauty of this is that these ‘friends’ vary in age from 10 years old to 60+. The point being, they on a regular basis affect the life of others… just because. I don’t know this because they tout about it on a public forum. I know about it because I’m fortunate enough to both witness and learn from it.
Those close to me know; I lack a filter. My thoughts often leave my mouth before my brain can catch them. This is a blessing and a curse. Not all words are received as they are intended, in which case yes… I spend a bit of time doing damage control. This of course is never fun, but often necessary and I recognize a shortcoming I could be better at.
The plus side to the potential ‘set back’ is that you never know when your words may change another’s life. That’s a pretty big sentence, but I can honestly say as the recipient it is indeed possible. The simplest of words can alter a person’s perspective, belief or even feelings of defeat.
I hold onto words. I love listening to advice and opinions of others even when not in agreement. Of course this is not always easy, but I always seem to come away just a bit better by simply being ‘open.’
The thought of this is what brings forward the notion of living ‘random.’ What if we made a conscience choice to think less and just act. This is a bit tricky. As I type it, I can’t help but recognize in life (especially as parents) we spend much of our days ‘re’ acting. Uniforms needing to be washed. Learning of school projects days before they are due or the ever-favorite money due for something that ‘slipped my mind.’ These are all reactionary circumstances when your plate is full and your day exhausting.
I’m a sucker for a good, heartwarming story. Stories like the mom with a crying kid in the car and a flat tire who’s helped by a random stranger or two. The person who chooses to take one morning a week to take a stranger to the grocery store or for chemo treatment. Heck, I even get excited when a person allows me to pull out of the bank parking lot and back onto the road. It’s that simple, but on certain days it can be the simplest thing which turns my day around.
Every now and again this quote finds me, “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
The truth is, it is not our place or job to define what truly makes a ‘hard’ battle. That definition is different for every person and each circumstance. What matters is how you choose to contribute to their bucket. Are you filling or emptying the bucket of another?
These are genius words I gained from a friend and actually taken from a children’s book. The book “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” written by Carol McCloud challenges that exact concept and encourages positive behavior in children.
The funny thing is, as we ‘grow-up’ and become busy we can forget this simple concept.
I’ve shared before I love learning from my kids, as well as their friends. As adults we do have answers, but what I realize more and more is that we don’t have ALL the answers.
If you really give it thought, kids are random. They run in the rain, skip at lunch recess and hug when they feel like it. That’s just awesome.
I may never win a Nobel Peace Prize for some life altering founding, but what I do know is that if my filterless, random behavior helps another … I’ve won already.
Teresa Hammond is a former reporter and current circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.