Wednesday, September 1, 2010

When Good Things Happen

This summer I’ve been lucky enough to come in contact with several heroes and they probably don’t even realize what their courage has meant to a stranger.

1. The guy with the bumper sticker which read something like: “Questions about Islam? Call--” That his car hadn’t been beaten with sticks by angry bigots is amazing. Talk about walking your walk and living your faith. I wonder how many Christians would have the courage to drive down Iraqi streets with Jesus stickers on their cars. Unoccupied Iraq I’m not talking in armored hummers but just regular old cars. I sure has heck wouldn’t put myself up for martyrdom.

2. The waitress at Village Inn. This young woman was expecting a baby a few weeks ago and hadn’t worked for a number of weeks. A couple of the regulars asked about her baby and she had the tenacity to rehearse the story of a child born with an overwhelming defect (the same one we thought Beav had) who was simply not viable and how they had to let her child go. If this had been me? I would have had to start my life over again some place else because telling that story would have been too painful to bear.

3. My young stroke patient. All I can say is if I had a dense stroke at my age, I would have been placed on a suicide watch and refused to eat or move or do anything so I could just die, rather than be trapped in a useless body. Because regaining strength and agility after such a stroke is extraordinarily hard work. Harder than training for a triathlon. Her tenacity to keep on going is bigger than the tenacity it took any one of the soldiers ever decorated with the Medal of Valor.

Heroes are kind of few and far between in this bossy stick finger pointing world we live in today. But I think courage is like kindness and valor can be paid forward, too. If we all behave a little more bravely towards the roadblocks in our lives, the big stuff, and the really hard stuff won’t be so overwhelming. People treating one another with kindness fall in the category of heroes, too. Which leads me to hero number four:

One of my favorite commercials--an insurance company, too I am soMadison Avenue's little patsy-- is the one about paying it forward. People practicing acts of kindness towards strangers and how one begets another and another. But it works and I was lucky enough to watch kindness spiral out of control one afternoon in our neighborhood Walmart.

4. The People Of Walmart: I was approaching the stop walk and a car many feet away, slowed and the stopped smiling and motioning me across the walk. I entered the store and the greeter’s genuine smile made me notice how beautiful she looked in red lipstick and so I told her this. After she thanked me for the compliment, the greeter turned and noticed a woman younger and stronger than herself struggling with a basket so she found one that wasn‘t jammed into another. This woman proceeded into the fruits and veg section where a young mother, distracted by a toddler, dropped a large bag of oranges that bounced and rolled akimbo. The older woman left her cart and gathered the oranges and handed them to the appreciative young mother. Later, I was standing in one of the impossibly long checkout lines and I noticed this young mother, in an equally long line, allow someone ahead of her because they had fewer items. I was awestruck for just a few minutes at the ease in which humans treat one another with kindness and how it really does spiral out of control.

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