Dramatic sounding title, huh? Let me tell you a story.
A few nights ago I went to Trader Joe’s for my usual grocery shopping trip. With 30 minutes to spare before they closed I quickly snagged a parking spot and grabbed my grocery list. As I opened my car door to get out, my whole purse toppled upside down and spilled all over the ground. Glorious!
Lipstick was rolling under the car next to me. My credit and debit cards were strewn all over the place along with who knows what else! (It was definitely a comical and frantic scene). Wearing my work dress I carefully got down on my hands and knees, so not to offend anyone or embarrass myself, and grabbed my belongings. I poked my head under the car next to me to assess where my lipstick was going to end up and caught it just in time! I doubled back and did a triple check to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
Phew! I didn’t see anything else. I was good. Leaving that mini catastrophe behind, I casually walked into Trader Joe’s as if nothing happened.
Everything after that was pretty typical; I got my veggies, my meat, my cheese, checked out then rolled my cart to the car. But, as I got closer I noticed something out of place, something that, quite frankly, should never be put where it was.
There was a folded one dollar bill wedged into the crack of my front door. I immediately thought, “what is that doing there? That’s strange.” Then I remembered my escapade earlier and realized I must have missed something in my night-time hustle, that something being this one dollar bill. Someone must have seen me drop it.
Okay, okay. So what? There was a dollar in my door. Now I could buy a chocolate bar or rent a Redbox movie (oh wait, just kidding. They doubled their prices ;P ). Why in the world would this $1 change the the way I see you?!
Here is why:
After I realized what must have happened with this dollar so many thoughts raced through my head:
“Why didn’t the person keep it for themselves? It’s just a dollar. How did they know it was mine? Did they see me drop it? Were they watching my purse drama? (eek!) Who was this person? Are they still here? I don’t remember seeing anyone around me. They are probably long gone now. I want to thank them, but I can’t. There is no one in the parking lot right now. Why didn’t anyone else snag it from my door while I was in the store? WOW. I am deeply grateful that there are good, upright people who take action.”
Believe it or not, all of these thoughts fit into the span of about 10 seconds in my head. Amazing how fast thoughts travel!
I was stunned; in shock that someone would be kind enough to do this. Like I said, it’s just a dollar. And maybe it’s just me. Maybe I haven’t experienced enough random acts of kindness to be jaded by their frequency. But I’ll bet that you too would be taken aback if you experienced this pure act of kindness.
This experience is a seemingly small moment that I could have moved past without much thought and simply been happy to have another dollar. But instead, I paused and pondered. Not for 5 minutes or 10 minutes, but for days. That moment impacted me and I wanted to feel the full imprint it was making on my heart.
This imprint, however, has nothing to do with how I should become a better person, but rather, with believing that other people are better than I think – even a stranger. It’s dreadfully easy to become cynical toward humanity with the countless horrible things we hear people do to each other in the media, not to mention the multitude of pains we experience from others in our own lives. And I admit I am a culprit of this cynicism. But not any more.
I have spent much time and effort changing the thoughts and attitudes I have about myself to become positive and empowering, but my thoughts toward other people still jump to negativity fairly fast. I know that, with myself, it is hard to grow and become something better without first changing my thoughts about myself, and likewise it is hard to see other people become better without first changing our thoughts and attitudes about them. As much as I work on myself, If my view of humanity doesn’t change for the better as well, then I am missing a huge piece of the puzzle.
So this year I am resolving to break down barriers of negative thinking toward people and believe the best of them instead, and I invite you to do the same!
In the comments below share 3 thoughts you plan on changing toward others starting today. I bet you this will change our lives and the lives of those around us.
Thanks for reading and I will leave you with this –
“We must keep our hearts tender to the good small things because that is when they can become the great big things.”