“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
This past week, I enjoyed having lunch with a girlfriend. As we chatted, we found ourselves talking about a mutual friend – a woman we both hadn’t seen in quite a while. We shared thoughts about the qualities we admired in this woman: her sense of humour, her generosity, her noted ability in her chosen career. Later it struck me that she should know how we feel about her, so I picked up the phone and gave her a call. As I told her about our conversation and how special we think she is, she was somewhat quiet. Finally she said, “You will never know how much you sharing this means to me. I have been feeling quite blue lately. I’ve have had some doubts about whether or not I’m doing the right thing, and your words have given me so much encouragement. You’ve turned my day around.”
“The simple act of caring is heroic.”
As I prepare my thoughts to write today, I am in my car, on the way to the hospital. Another friend has been fighting a brave and valiant fight with cancer, but she is no longer winning. She is young. Her life is full. She has a family and many friends who love her. She has a career, and many talents left to share. As I drive, I am asking myself, “Have I told her how much she has impacted my life? Have I told her how much I care about her? Have I shared with her the ways I’ve observed her making a difference in this world?” It strikes me how important it is to share these things – and to not wait until the last minute. Life can change on a dime.
So, the most important thing I can do today is be there for my friend, let her sense how she is loved, be a peaceful presence. It’s sometimes difficult to spend time with people who are facing the end of their lives. Among many feelings, we are reminded that we will all face this very same moment. Sometimes we don’t know what to say or do. We can’t make the illness cease, but wish so much that we could. Today I will quietly remind her that she is special, that she has touched the lives of others, and has left many positive seeds in this world that will flourish in time. How will I do this? By being there, sensing what she needs in the moment and, either silently or verbally, sending out love and light to her.
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”
Right now, many people are facing challenges, life-threatening illnesses, small struggles. Joys, sorrows, worries, fears. Success, failure. Some have lost their confidence. Some have lost their way. It would be a mistake to underestimate the positive impact we could have on others by simply taking the time to tell them what’s in our hearts and minds. A short note-card in the mail with two or three sentences; a quick phone call or text; an e-mail with a funny cartoon; a happy thought to brighten a person’s day. It doesn’t have to be much, take too long, or be anything grand. It only has to come from the heart.
“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Send to them all the care, kindness, and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of reward. Your life will never be the same again.”
It is possible to make it more of a priority to connect with the people in our lives. If each and every one of us does this, the whole world will be touched.