13 December 2018

Light the World

I've been a #LightTheWorld participant for three years now. The initiative, started by my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is designed to spread the same light Jesus Christ spread during His ministry, one day at a time, every single day throughout the month of December.

To Light the World, we should try to do at least one kind thing for someone each day of the month. I try to do that every day all year long, but it's really fun during December because the kindness we show to strangers has a greater chance of being not only acknowledged, but possibly passed on in some way, too.

When you make eye contact with a stranger who might be lonely, sad or suffering in some way and smile, often the smile is returned, and the seed planted in the heart of the stranger just might grow and spread. Tiny things really do make a difference in the world.

One work day early in the month, I had to run a personal errand during my (unfashionably late) lunch hour. It was bitter cold, high of 23 degrees that day, so I was rushing, and honestly, kind of off in my own little world, not really paying attention to anything around me.

Until, that is, I noticed the young couple walking, holding hands, in front of me, suddenly drop hands. The young man ran to the heavy door of a bank, where a frail elderly woman was about to give the door a huge tug. He opened the door for her, she looked at him in very pleasant surprise, they exchanged friendly greetings, and he returned to his sweetheart and grabbed her hand. She was beaming. I think she knows she caught a wonderful man!

That tender act lightened my mood, which wasn't too awful in the first place, just rushed. I was still smiling about it as I stood in line for my errand.

The woman who waited on me a few minutes later commented how the Christmas spirit had firmly gripped me, and she wished me a wonderful rest of the day.

I was smiling as I walked back to my office, so happy I'd timed my break the way I did so I could witness that precious act of kindness. I came to a traffic light, where another woman was standing, waiting to cross. We smiled at each other, and then the light turned, and both of us began walking into the intersection.

Suddenly, behind me, someone began yelling horrible, awful things, and it didn't take longer than a few seconds to realize the woman in the crosswalk with me was the target of the belligerent behavior. She turned and looked back, and the obnoxious pedestrian screamed at her more angrily, as if that was even possible.

"Why are you staring at me?!?" the person yelled with such rage, it scared even me. "There's nothing wrong with me! You're the one with a problem! Turn around and face me, you..." There were many other words laced into the rant I don't care to repeat.

I did not turn and look back. But I did look directly at the woman in the crosswalk, who seemed to be nervous and whose paced had picked up slightly.

The yelling continued, with complaints about multiple hardships the speaker had endured and how no one had the right to judge. I turned to the woman again and softly said, "Everyone has a hard time at one time or another. It's not reserved for just one person."

The woman smiled at me and softly explained, as we quickened our pace again, that she didn't know what she had done, but this person had been following her and swearing at her for more than three blocks. I told her I would walk with her until she was safe. I saw a tear form in her eye, and we walked together, not saying a word as the screaming and insults continued.

I passed my stop but didn't change direction. I kept walking with the woman, and finally, we crossed a busy street right as the light changed, and the person who was about half a block behind us could not get closer. Thank heavens, literally, for heavy traffic!!!

We walked to the next bus stop, where the woman thanked me, then boarded the bus. I smiled again and told her to stay safe.

"You, too, and merry Christmas," she said as she disappeared onto the bus. I kept walking forward and circled around the long way to get back to my building without any other disturbances.

Inside my building, I pushed the elevator button to return to my desk and felt so joyous inside. Even though I couldn't fix whatever was wrong with the angry person, I'd witnessed a magnificent display of kindness, and then I'd had a chance to pass it on just a bit later. Who knows how far that random act of kindness has spread since the young man dropped his girlfriend's hand to run to the aid of a total stranger?

I'm reminded of the chorus to a favorite song from my younger days... "Circle of Love" from Saturday's Warrior.

"The circle of our love... it goes forever."

The love we show for another is like an electrical current, and it just keeps traveling, as long as we keep loving and giving.

1 comment :

  1. Great that he helped the lady with the door. Some people are really nuts. Good you walked with her indeed. Just that little extra help can go a long way.


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

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