Thursday, March 27, 2008

In Little Ways

I received, not too very long ago, a plea from a Friend who was burdened and feeling overwhelmed by the immensity of mankind’s currently demonstrated disregard for others. The meanness, cruelty, and abuse reflected in the news was discouraging her heart. “What hope is there? How can we make any difference?” her wounded spirit cried. So, today, I offer these two snippets from my own past as demonstration of some simple, easy, and readily available ways that we can reach out to the world that lives close to us.

My sensitivity to this matter of opportunities in my immediate personal world came into play the day that I entered an elevator in one of the up-scale office towers in the mid-town business district. There amid an assembled group of up-and-coming ‘corporate wannabes’ was an elderly gentleman of very slight physical stature who, in contrast to the group of “G.Q. - Trendies" parading their fine “haberdasherie“, was quite “off the rack.” It was immediately obvious that the man was more than a little uncomfortable in these surroundings and I was acutely aware of his discomfort. To add to the dynamic, the group around him were all much taller than he and looked down at him with more than just a physical air of disdain.

“Please forgive my intrusion, my friend” I began, (I love the gift of this means of introduction… [Thank you Leo Buscaglia]) “but, if you will allow my interference, you are only one small adjustment from being perfectly tailored.” I then reached over without a moment’s hesitation and (as though I did this sort of thing as a routine matter) turned down the standing collar on the back of the neck of his suit. After smoothing the wrinkles away, I declared “There you are Sir, quite dapper. And, if I may say so myself, perfectly ready to enjoy your lunch.” (For the elevator was on its way to the top-floor (private club) restaurant.) The gentleman looked up at me and said (to the accompaniment of the warmest and most gentle eyes imaginable) “You are from around here, aren’t you?” Knowing that he was trying to communicate a felt sense of community with me, I responded “Yes sir, you and I are a couple of local folk and I am happy to know you.” He responded with a smile and as he exited the elevator (exuding a newly-found sense of confidence and belonging) bade me a "good day." And it was, indeed, a good day.

In that same building, there was (at the top of the entrance escalators) a desk for the use of the building’s concierge. At this desk a young woman fulfilled the role of attending to the needs (some real, but far too many supposed) of all coming to that place to conduct business. Day after day I observed this person as she greeted each passing person with a genuine smile that never wavered nor faltered no matter the lateness of the hour or the crush of the masses.

Many were the times when I exited that 'conveyor belt' of humanity to have my spirits lifted by her gracious “Hello.” Then, one day, for no particular reason, that I can now recall, that Little Voice (within my spirit) said “she needs encouragement today.” No further discussion was required.

To the floral shop (around the corner from the concierge desk) I went. Having secured a small bouquet, I attached a card upon which I wrote a note expressing my appreciation for her uplifting and encouraging contribution to my work life, and with a “Please forgive my intrusion” I delivered it to her and promptly took my leave. I have no idea what matters she was dealing with that day. There could have been any of innumerable difficulties that she was confronting. The point is that none of that was my business. It was only my responsibility (to that Power that spoke to me) to respond in a caring, human, but unassuming manner. Herein lies the core of my personal voice ... as I have discovered it ... and learned to use it.

In any number of the smallest of ways, You ... and I ... and Love ... can change our world. You just wait. Just watch. You will see. We can do this thing! (And it is so much fun in the doing!)

IMAGES: Through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,


Just Joni said...

I do believe...
in the power behind a good deed.
that a genuine smile can mean the world.
that we are all connected through our need to be loved.
the smallest things can have the biggest impact.

you warm my heart John-Michael.

CrazyCath said...

Good afternoon JDM!

It is indeed so much fun. You are so right. I love gift giving. It is such an easy way to bring a smile and lighten a day.

Others do it for me as well. Being able to respond to and act on that "feeling", "urge", "impulse", "intuition" or that "small inner voice" is what makes us all human, all compassionate, and able to make this world a more tolerable and better place.

Thanks for your post today. It is a great example of man's love for his fellow man in genuine caring compassion. As you show every day. Bless you and love you.

John-Michael said...

Love is always open arms. If you close your arms about love you will find that you are left holding only yourself.

I do, indeed, Love you, Dear Joni and count our allowing this discovery of each other as a lovely gift from Life.

Thank you for your insightful comments. You have multiplied my message.

John-Michael said...

Dear Treasure from Heaven, My Cath-Daughter, how happy it makes me when some of the 'compost' of my experience can help your garden grow! (see ... I am still 'fixed' on your family's inviting garden [smile]).

You have my heart as your companion today (as always).

I love YOU!

Amy Y said...

It IS fun, isn't it? I love when I find opportunities to make someone smile... I figure in many ways I am just a regular person, no better, worse, or different from anyone else. But... if I can make a difference in someone's day, even just for a moment ~ it makes me feel like I'm on top of the world.

My motives are as selfish as they are selfless... but I think if everyone had the goal to make just one person smile or laugh today, the world would be a happier place :)

Misty Dawn said...

I truly hope we do use our love to change this world.

You are a gift to this world, my friend.

John-Michael said...

Kinda sounds like the perfect "win-win-and-win again" deals doesn't it Amy?

And I certainly know that you in my world has been a winning plus that I do cherish.

I love You!

John-Michael said...

You know, Misty, hand-in-hand, I am positive that we will make just such a difference.

(and given our geographic challenges, I have no doubt that heart-in-heart will do even better [though not as much fun for us])

Loving my loving You ...

CrazyCath said...

Your heart, my companion, today has helped tremendously. Today is much better.

And as I reach out to some one today that needs me, I remember your words and I help how I can. Knowing as Amy said how selfish I am being because it makes me feel so good to ease some one else's pain and soothe. It soothes me. Win, win and win again! [smile]

Josie said...

Omigosh, that is wonderful, and so true, isn't it? We just have to keep our eyes and our ears open. Sometimes the small subliminal messages that other people send out are lost to us. But if we are perceptive, we can pick them up. And sometimes it's just the smallest gesture that can make all the difference in the world.

John-Michael said...

How I do love our hearts being life-living-companions as we walk our path together! Spirit-hand in Spirit-hand, walking along, (maybe even an occasional skip or two as the mood strikes [smile]).

Yes indeed, Darling Cath-Daughter, 'tis a winning proposition all 'round.

Loving You!

John-Michael said...

Sometimes "a little dab will do ya" (how I pity all those too young to remember the old Bryl-Cream commercial with that slogan [B&W TV sure gave our imaginations a good workout!])

Thank you for your positive affirmation Dear Josie.

I love you, Ya know!

jillie said...

Coming here always makes me feel better. Like a breath of fresh air! If people could only see a reflection of themselves as others see them, maybe then will we all try to be a little kinder.

I am sure the young lady will remember that moment for the rest of her days as well as the elderly man.

If they cannot find a way to say thank you personally, please forgive my intrusion and let me say it for them....



Beth from the Funny Farm said...

I love your two stories, especially that you gave that lady flowers.

I bet that brightened her day tremendously.

...sometimes, one must look beyond the smile and into one's eyes.

Crystal said...

I think sometimes people forget the power of simple things. It doesn't take many to change things. It can start with just one single person doing a simple thing. I should know...By you commenting today you gave me peace and I SO needed that. Thank you and much love to you.

John-Michael said...

Dear Jillie, how terribly sensitive and thoughtfully kind of you to have, and respond to in such a beautiful way, your inner impulse to want to speak and act on behalf of the sentiments and feelings of others. So typical of your life's ongoing commitment.

You make Loving You so natural and right.

John-Michael said...

“Like any other living, growing thing, love requires effort to keep it healthy.” LFB

I appreciate, and enjoy, the ease with which your inner loveliness is known, Darling Beth. Please know that you are a blessing to my life.


John-Michael said...

My Lovely and loving Crystal, Your remarks bring to mind the 'simple' power of Gravity. Unseen, undefinable, yet holding everything known to us in perfect order ... as does Love.

And Love is the most comfortable and natural response to ... YOU.

Amanda said...

You warm a heart inn the midst of a late March snowfall.

I should hope that one day soon you'll will be regaling us with your own experience of an unsolicited, unexpected and an unapologetically enjoyed random act of kindness.

You deserve it, sweet soul, you deserve it.

John-Michael said...

My Darling Amanda, if only I could empress your heart with the very real truth ... that your caring and sensitive gift, of your Spirit's, "an unsolicited, unexpected and an unapologetically enjoyed random act of kindness" wish for me ... is (to my very BEing) the fulfillment of that wish.

I am so happy to love You, and your lovely Sean.


aims said...

Dearest JM - You are a delight.

If there were more people like you in the world - well - it would be a better place by far.

Thank you for being you.

John-Michael said...

Aims,, My Darling Friend, coming from a heart as caring as yours ... your words touch and bless my heart. Thank you!

I love you!

Creative Commons License
Unless expressly stated, all original material, of whatever nature, created by J. Michael Brown (John-Michael) and included in this weblog and any related pages, including the weblog's archives is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.