"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" Leo Buscaglia
Remember my blog post about Jim and Stella, the lovely old couple I met during rather unfortunate circumstances?
Today, Jim came into my work to deliver a Christmas card. Sadly, I was out at the time so I missed him but he stayed for a wee while and chatted with some of the Nursery staff. He still can't talk about what I did that day without getting emotional. I had absolutely no idea how much it meant to him that I helped Stella and it’s very touching to know that my small offering of kindness has gone so far, that one act of compassion could have had such an impact on two strangers' lives. I really didn’t really do much but it was enough that I cared.
Christmas is a time when we show love and compassion towards one another. It’s a time when even the most frozen heart can thaw, even if it’s only for a little while. I wonder why it is that we wait for this festive season to demonstrate that side of our nature. Wouldn’t it be lovely if everyone was like that all year round? I was not shocked to discover that two people walked past Stella that afternoon as she lay, shaking and bleeding in the road. However, not being shocked by such appalling behaviour is in itself shocking. How sad to think that we have come to expect so little from our fellow human beings, that it no longer comes as a surprise that some are capable of turning a blind eye to the worst suffering.
I know it’s a cliché but how wonderful it would be if we could only extend the love, forgiveness and compassion we feel during the Christmas period and to do it, not for reward or personal gain but simply because it was the right thing to do. It needn’t be a grand gesture that makes the difference, it could be something as small and as simple as a smile, a sympathetic ear or stopping when no-one else has.
Sometimes it feels like we live in a world full of people who couldn’t care less. Try being that person who couldn’t care more. Beginning now, treat everyone you meet as you would like to be treated; offer them all the love and empathy you can muster, spread it like gold dust and in doing so perhaps a little of that gold dust may cling to your hands.
I love this time of year partly because of the coloured lights, the chocolate and the exchange of presents but mostly I love it because it brings out the best in people. Christmas seems to wave a magic wand over everything, turning us into better versions of ourselves; it’s the time of year when people are reminded that they are here for something other than themselves. My wish is that we could bottle some of our festive spirit and sprinkle it liberally over things throughout the year. It's a schmultzy thing to say but this Christmas let us open our hearts as well as our presents. In the words of Charles Spurgeon, 'Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.'
Leave nothing behind but goodness, be kind, live well. Happy Christmas Xx