Family Friday: How a Little Cheer Can Brighten Up the World

A few weeks ago, I wrote about enjoying the chance encounters with neighbors that help us connect as a community, Why Small Talk is Big Time. That piece inspired my friend N in Boynton Beach to share how she took on the challenge one morning to offset all the negative chatter in this crazy world with some happiness.

Here is what N told me.

The news is full of quarrel

Before I went out to do a few errands, I read the newspaper and saw all the now-usual stories or people rudely shouting at each other without either side listening to the other.  And as I headed to the bank, I decided to spread (as someone or other once said) sunshine and light.  

N, a reader in Boynton Beach, FL

Harassed bank teller all smiles

The customer ahead of me at the bank was absurdly slow.  When I got to the teller, she was obviously fuming and immediately began apologizing. I held up a hand and said, ” You obviously did your job efficiently, you were just being polite to a person who needed to chat. Please don’t apologize, just take a deep breath. I’ll be quick and I hope the rest of your day is better.”  

Wow! She almost jumped, before she took care of me and asked me to please come back tomorrow. (I didn’t, but oh well.)

N, a reader in Boynton Beach, FL

As if she’d gotten a new Mercedes

Then I went to the post office.  Someone was struggling with two boxes.  We were both masked.  So, I took one and helped her inside.  

She was so happy to be helped, you would have thought I had given her a new Mercedes.  

N, a reader in Boynton Beach, FL

Chiming along makes his day

Walking out I heard a postal worker loading his truck with difficulty, start to curse, pause to control himself and then continue in a totally furious voice,”Mary had a little lamb.”  

He was so mad it almost sounded obscene, but I decided (from 25 or so feet away just in case he was mad enough to attack) to keep my game going, so I sang out, “Its fleece was white as snow.”  And he started cracking up.  

N, a reader in Boynton Beach, FL

A 90 minute shower of sweetness and light

So in under 90 minutes I spread three bits of sweetness and light during a pandemic.

N, a reader in Boynton Beach, FL

Wow. How easily we ignore these opportunities to make someone’s day, or, worse yet, let others’ anxiety and anger spill over into us.

My Amsterdam nurses are still my cheerleaders

Here’s a recent photo my band of nurses in from my 2019 illness in Amsterdam who continue to make me smile. They rise to the occasion every day to help their patients deal with illness, and my heart overflows with gratitude for them.

My nurses at OLVG Hospital are STILL in my corner!
My nurses at OLVG Hospital are STILL in my corner!

What can you do this week?

So, here’s the challenge: what can you do this week to lighten a stranger’s load? And, when you do, please let me know, because it’s really so simple and so profound that I’d love to share it here.

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