The Covid pandemic has changed me in ways I never thought possible. So far, I have remained healthy and disease-free. I have gone to great lengths to make sure this is the case. I am vaccinated, boosted, and hubby and I have spent a lot of time in isolation.
One of the biggest blessings of 2020 was being able to spend time with family again after the vaccines became available. I will never look at spending time with family in the same way. I always enjoyed it and looked forward to those times. Now, these gatherings bring me great joy. It is like a miracle every time one of my nieces’ crawls into my lap or we run around the house doing goofy activities. Hugging brothers, daughters, and other extended family is a treat. I feel like I am the survivor of a Great Depression. It was the Great Depression of solitude.
I know I am not the only person to feel this way. We watched a newsclip this morning showing people reuniting after being separated from loved ones for months and others for more than a year. The ones that reunited where one party was surprised are priceless. Watching so much joy literally brought goosebumps up on my arms.
Early 2020 was the famine of togetherness, the drought of connectedness, the desert of social gatherings, but also taught us the importance of camaraderie and community.
Let us not soon forget this lesson. Time together is what makes our lives whole. Relationships with others help to fulfill us. Even encounters with strangers can be a precious thing. It is our chance to make a difference for someone else. Make it a good one. So, as we get back to a new normal, remember the great gift that the people in our lives are.
If we become annoyed or impatient with that person in front of us in the check-out line don’t take that for granted. We are in a store, in a check-out line, not reduced to using curbside pickup to avoid contact with others. (Although what a blessing curbside pickup was when we needed it. Thank you, workers!)
And we are all adjusting to a new normal. So, remember to be kind. Always.
I was a substitute teacher for a different kindergarten class today. I loved it! These kids were great. They were pleasant and responsive when I asked them to do things.
Most importantly, I feel like I made a difference. Some of the kids were looking for acceptance and approval and I was able to give them that.
One little boy needed help down from a piece of playground equipment because he had climbed too high.
And I was there for the poor little boy who was in tears at lunch. A boy put his hand up at lunch and he and another boy waved me over. They were first or second graders. They told me their friend was crying and upset. I asked where he was because I didn’t see any little boy crying. Turns out he was under the cafeteria table.
I asked what was wrong. The boy choked out that he turned around to talk to a boy at the table behind him, and one of the other lunch monitors yelled at him. I told him that it was very loud in the cafeteria and perhaps the lady was frustrated because of this. I suggested that he could talk to the person behind him some other time and talk to the boys at his table right now instead.
The upset little boy still had tears running down his face and trouble speaking because he was crying so hard. He tearfully told me that no one wanted to be his friend or talk to him. By now, the boy sitting beside him had had his arm around him for some time. I told the crying boy that I thought he did have friends that cared about him. Two boys had been concerned enough to call me over to help. And they had been watching with concern and trying to interpret to me what happened. The boys all looked at each other and smiled. Things were looking up as I patted the upset little boy on the back and walked away.
I checked back about ten minutes later. Things seemed to be going pretty well. The boys seemed to be getting along. I had the feeling that all the boys did care about each other. Still, I thought I would share a joke I had learned from another kid at school. What does a duck eat? Quackers! The boys cracked up with laughter.
The boy who had originally been so upset laughed with glee. I had the feeling that I was exactly where I was supposed to be today. Making a difference.
My girls working their magic this evening at the nursing home.
I walked up to this gentleman with Nikki. He is usually very serious as he pets the dogs and talks. He is friendly but reserved. I asked him if he wanted to hold the little one, Nikki. He grinned from ear to ear and shook his head yes. He maintained his smile all the while petting Nikki. Each time I asked if she was getting heavy or if I should take her, he shook his head no. Finally it was time for us to go. We left him with a smile still on his face.
The lady petting Shelby also had a notable evening. She first petted Nikki and then Shelby jumped up on her own to visit. This is rather unusual for Shelby to jump on the couch without being invited. I’m learning to trust her as she is developing an intuition for who needs her. This woman said, if only my family could see me now, I’m afraid of dogs! I asked if she was ok with the dogs or if I should move them. The lady said she was fine and continued petting the pups. I got a picture so we can share it with her family.
If anyone tells you there is no magic in the world, don’t believe them.
With all the angst and horrific things happening in our country and abroad, I felt compelled to do something. But I felt I could do nothing to have an impact. Then I came across the above quote on my Facebook memories. Great words from a humble woman who made a difference.
Makes you feel like you should perform some heroic or prophetic act doesn’t it? But she was talking about a simple act. What are some simple things that can be done?
Smile at someone.
Take a few minutes to listen to someone.
Tell someone you hope they have a nice day.
Bite your tongue instead of saying something mean or telling someone off.
Take a minute to write or email someone an uplifting note.
Tell a young person they are good at something.
The first few items could brighten the day of another person. A worthy goal in itself. A few simple, kind words might also be the difference between whether someone is so down or angry or depressed that they take a life. Be it their own or that of other/s.
A couple of the ideas could make the difference between whether someone pursues their talents and go on to make great discoveries or do things that change the world.
Sometimes it doesn’t take much to change a train of thought and a course of action. And you may never have a clue. Granted, most these simple ideas will not have such far reaching results. But what if just one time, one of them does?
I challenge you to do just one of these ideas. Or come up with some of your own. I would love to hear them. Create many ripples.
Think you can’t make a difference in someone’s life? Think again. Everyone can make a difference, even dogs! This is Shelby, my registered therapy dog, sitting outside the school where we go read to the kindergarteners. You can see that she’s quite proud to be wearing her “I’m a School Visitor” badge. We visit here once a month and I think that we teach the kids that reading is fun and dogs are fun. And accepting.
One boy is a student with special needs and each time we see him, his behavior is calmer. Last time he even sat with us and the other kids for a while. Now this may have nothing to do with Shelby but I can’t help but think she plays some small part.
I’ve taken other therapy dogs to a home for profoundly disabled children and I know for a fact that the dog calmed some of these children. Kids that aren’t normally verbal make sounds. And kids that don’t interact, pet the dog. I’ve seen the same reaction with older folks who don’t interact anymore. They will ask a question or call the dog over.
We all have a chance to make a difference in the lives of others every day. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture either. Just saying hello or sharing a smile can change the course of someone’s day. And you may never know. Your kind gesture affects someone so they are nicer to someone, and so on. Small acts can make big ripples.
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” – Martin Luther King Jr
I read an article today titled “I Have a Dream”: 25 of the Greatest Quotes From Martin Luther King Jr .They are an impressive bunch of words and ideas. I think they deserve further contemplation. I decided to focus on the one above for tonight.
I went outside and took a picture of the moon which, if memory serves, is a giant star. So in the darkness, I saw a star. Is this what Dr. King meant? Almost certainly not, although it is indeed true. I think it was meant to evoke more of a mental and emotional thought process.
Perhaps without the darkness that is suffering, we would not appreciate the good that we encounter. This holds true on a small or large scale. For instance, when we pick strawberries, if the weather is hot and the plants are dirty, we may undergo some suffering, albeit minor in this circumstance. We will likely appreciate the sweetness of the berries even more than if someone just gave them to us. Same berries but a different experience.
In taking a test, if you receive an ” A” in a subject that comes easy to you, that is of course a wonderful thing. Now imagine a time when the subject matter was confusing to you, but you persevered and due to hard work, you received an “A”. That is an even more rewarding feeling.
Take it a step farther. You want to make a difference in the world. You spend years, maybe your whole life, working toward a goal. To make the world a better place for a certain group of people, or maybe for all people, or all beings. You see what could be from the point at which you are.
So friends, my wish for you is that you may see the stars.