Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You Are a Role Model Without Knowing It

As the year comes to a close and I ponder the events that marked these past 12 months, I marvel at the beauty of life despite so many signs of hardship and destruction. In always trying to see the bright side and be grateful, I look at my life and those in it for inspiration and awe. Sometimes a book can move me just as well.

Whether you know it or not, your life, how you live it, whether positively or negatively, acts as a beacon for anyone that crosses your path. In this way, we are all a part of the universe. It has been known that happiness can travel within a circle of friends and can affect people a few times removed. The impact of one person to another, even as total strangers is evident and scientifically documented.

I’ll give you an example from my personal life. For years, I’ve known S and her husband D. We see each other a couple of times a year, but we are not close. I know them through someone else. If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve seen them a handful of times each year for about 10 years, they really would be acquaintances because that’s how well I know them. In a span of about 6 months, they have been riddled with a very serious health issue, a home renovation that went bad via a freak incident, they lived in a hotel for almost two months, they had to re-decorate again, and then another very serious illness. And did I mention they have two toddlers, but through it all they never complained and even poked fun at life and how it didn’t seem to let up on them? And either the kids were sick or they were also sick while trying to take care of each other and the family, including juggling work and life in general. I admire them, their marriage, and their attitude.

I also just finished reading Scratch Beginnings. It a social experiment where one college grad tried to ‘get out of poverty’ with only $25, the clothes he wore, a bag and tarp. Many people positively influenced his life, but the one stranger that affected him the most got a long thank you letter. It stated they didn’t know each other’s names, how their daily interaction brightened his day immensely and started it off right, how a “mundane job” really was vital to society even though he may not know it. Who did Adam Shepard write this thank you letter to? His local community bus driver.

I wrote a get well card to S and D sharing how I admire their marriage, outlook, and resilience. It was the 2nd one I had to write in 6 months so I didn’t want to say the typical ‘get well soon’ message figuring it wouldn’t suffice. So, I hoped they would appreciate how much they impacted my life by living with such grace, poise, and gratitude. They enjoyed receiving it, but probably not as much as I enjoyed writing it.

When was the last time you wrote a thank you card or a long thank you letter - not an email or a word of thanks, or not a thank you for a birthday gift or a job interview? When was the last time you wrote someone to say thank you for “being you” or “just because” or mentioned how much you appreciate them when it wasn’t a special day? Perhaps, now that the holidays are here, a thank you/love letter wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

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