Today in Colorado we are experiencing the first hint of fall: a cool morning! I was just sitting outside enjoying the slight breeze. It's so enjoyable! Usually by 10am it is roasting outside, so this is really a treat!
The purpose of this post is to tell you about an amazing life reminder I got last week at work.
It was slow on my floor (not many babies), so that meant I got sent to work elsewhere in the hospital. On these other floors, I wasn't too busy either, so I got to spend a lot more time than usual just talking with the patients.
I had really lengthy conversations with about 5 of the patients, and they each made an impact on me. As we walk through life, day to day, how many strangers' faces do we glance at for a flicker of a second? Hundreds? It is so easy to get used to the mechanical way we go about our lives, with the least amount of interaction with others possible. But in speaking with these strangers, I found that they each had such a story to tell. Even in the 20 or 30 minutes we spoke, I was amazed to learn about all the different obstacles and struggles these people had gone through. Granted, I was working on a floor where people have serious medical issues, so it's not really a fair representation of the average population...but still.
It was beautiful to take the time to get to know these people. Whatever happened to strangers being kind to each other? I'm not saying everyone should be naive and live life chatting blissfully away with complete strangers, because I know that there are bad people in this world that have made humankind not trust each other anymore.
What I am saying is, what is the harm in being a little bit kinder as we move through life? Taking the time to smile more often or help someone in the parking lot who has dropped a bag of groceries. Is anyone else tired of the impersonal way everyone whispers "hi" while eyes are cast downward as you pass them in a hallway? I am making it a point to try to deliver a "hello" with a clear voice and a genuine smile when I walk past someone. I just think that in this technological age where people would prefer to email, text, or send a facebook message as opposed to call on the phone or meet up for coffee to chat face-to-face, our human relationships are getting more and more impersonal.
I mean, in the neighborhood where I live...only one of my neighbors will talk to me. And that was after 8 months of living here. No one likes to go out of their way to get to know you anymore. When we moved in one year ago, I was excited to get to know my neighbors. And last week when I got locked out of my house, I really realized how much it sucks that I can't turn to any of them. Part of me wants to move somewhere more traditional just to see a glimmer of that old sense of neighborly friendliness and helpfulness.
This post may seem hippie-wishy-washy, but I truly yearn for people to just step it up and be just a little bit kinder. When I took the time to get to know these patients at work, I was greatly rewarded. Smiles are doubly beneficial: smiling makes you feel good inside, and it is also contagious --- so you'll make someone else smile and therefore help them feel better inside.
If we all just smiled more often, even to strangers, the world (or at least the city of Denver) would have a completely different demeanor.
Cheers and a smile to you -