Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One Good Deed by Barbara Quinn

I've renewed my efforts to do at least one good deed a day. It can be as simple as slowing down and letting in a car that is trying to enter the line of traffic, or letting someone go ahead of me on line when they have one or two items. I hold the door for people behind me, help out harried moms with strollers who are trying to prop doors open to enter, or hit the open button on the elevator when someone is approaching so they don’t miss the ride. There are so many opportunities. Usually I get a thankful wave or nod, which makes me smile, but even when I don’t get a reaction, I still feel good about the doing of a little kindness. I like to think that the person who has benefited from my small kindness will perhaps be kind to someone else in that “pay it forward” type of way.

But when I am pressed for time, or exhausted from all of life’s pressing engagements, I have to work hard to remember to take the time to be nice, not merely perfunctorily civil and acting out of habit. I have to take in my surroundings, have to come out of myself and my own little demanding and worrisome world. I force myself to notice things. This moment of staying in the present instead of worrying about what I need to do next is when I tell the clerk at the supermarket I like her earrings(they sparkle in the light), the librarian that the color sweater she is wearing looks good on her (the blue matches her eyes). It’s wonderful to see the broad smiles that are the result of these little interactions. And what did it take? A few words, a meeting of gazes, an acknowledgment of the connection between myself and a stranger. Ah, there is harmony in the world and in the midst of the chaos it's good to find it.

When I went to the theater the other night, we were rushing to get to our seats on time. A female usher greeted us and handed over our Playbills. I sat down, barely aware of the usher till she leaned in and said, “What scent are you wearing?” The rushing and hurrying were gone. I stopped and looked at her, suddenly caught up in a pair of smiling eyes. I answered, “It’s called Casual.” She nodded and I smiled. “It’s good I assume?” She laughed. “Really nice.” And then she was gone, back to ushering the next couple down the aisle. The few spritzes of my favorite perfume, Casual by Paul Sebastian, put on many hours earlier had caused this pleasant exchange. It’s a light scent I’ve worn for years, and I’ve had many similar comments when wearing it. I had no idea I still smelled of it since that always happens with perfume. How grateful I was that she took the time to tell me she liked the scent. The tables were turned and I was the beneficiary of a kindness. I vowed to double my efforts to say a kind word here, do a good deed there. And I also made a mental note to stock up on my dwindling supply of Casual perfume!


Angie Ledbetter said...

Barb, what a fine post. Love paying it forward, especially reporting to a restaurant manager that one of his/her staff members did an excellent job. Small niceties, like dwindling perfume scents we become immune to, others notice and appreciate.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Lovely wonderful post, Barb *smiling*

Linda said...

Wow - you read my mind. This is exactly what's been on mind mind lately. Excellent post!

Barbara Quinn said...

Angie,yes, you're right about the restaurant staff!

Kat, I'm smiling right back at you.

Linda, I'm glad to know that you're out there doing a little good too!

Patresa Hartman said...

awesome. what's remarkable about those teeny tiny moments (smiling, holding a door, complimenting earrings) is that you never know how huge the impact can be. you never know just how BADLY someone needs to hear something nice at that moment.

i'm so glad you're doing your part to make the world nicer. :)

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