There are times in all of our lives where the road takes a sudden turn and we our jolted onto a different path. In 2014, I moved from my home of 27 years in Michigan, to a rental house in Georgia. During the process of packing up, I realized that part of what I was leaving behind was a network of support that went beyond my family and friends. It was the people I passed on walks, the cashiers at my favorite stores, and the staff at my morning breakfast stop. While there were going away parties with those I loved, I realized I had no way of saying good-by to the people who played a small part in my daily life. I didn’t want to just disappear. More importantly, I wanted them to know the difference that they made. So I wrote the following note, put it on card stock, attached a string of Swarovski crystals and passed them out.
“There are people who bring color into my life every day… the cashier at the grocery store, the wait staff at my favorite lunch place, the lady with the dog that I pass when I am walking my own. The small kindnesses and smiles that are exchanged during these brief interactions has often been the difference between starting the day with a smile, or not.
I have learned that one has a grandson she is very proud of, that another graduated with her Master’s degree, and yet another may have found love. On other days, I learned that the waiter who messed up my order just moved his mother into a nursing home that morning, or that the cashier’s cat was sick or that the lady that I pass each day on my walk does not mind that her dog is slow because she is slowing down too.
I may not have ever met you, but the flowers in your yard make me smile every time I see them.
Please take this crystal and put it in a place that gets sun. When you see the tiny rainbows it creates, remember that what you do is a colorful gift you give. That you never know the impact that you make on others.
Soon I will be moving to Atlanta, Georgia, but before I go, I wanted to make sure I thanked you. You are one of the people who has brought color into my life. Your small kindnesses have made a difference to me and your presence has made my life just that much richer.”
While I was a little anxious to pass these cards out to people, most would consider strangers, the reception I received was tremendous. Hugs and well wishes were abundant.
Human beings are hardwired for connection. Studies show there is a correlation between social isolation, loneliness and decreased lifespan. Small moments of connection, are good, not only for our souls, but our bodies as well. We live in a world where social platforms are abundant, but real communication is floundering. Take time to really look at those around you, listen to what they are saying. It is a powerful way to practice kindness. Brenda Romanchik, 2/8/2018