Your Unknown Value

What you do today matters in ways you could not possibly know.

I believe The Gaia Principle (think butterfly wings affecting weather across the globe) applies to human social interactions. Each smile you give today, or angry word you mumble, is influencing not only your life but the lives of those to whom you give little or no thought.

GainesBI have a personal example I think of often, but the person involved likely never thinks of me.  It was a neighbor we had when we lived in Chicago.  She was the mother of my brother’s friend, but to me at age 6 or 7, she was the lady across the street with the dog named Skippy. And better yet, she was the lady who always let me into her house and her kitchen, so that I could give Skippy a piece of American Cheese — the kind all folded up in a little plastic-wrap envelope. It was the 70s, so sometimes, if she was out of cheese, I could give Skippy a Gaines-Burger (boy did those fascinate me).

In retrospect, I realize what an amazing and kind woman she was to always let me into her house and then always let me feed her dog! Skippy was a bit pudgy.  She didn’t know my parents all that well.  She had three children of her own and was no doubt very busy. And here I would come knocking randomly, hoping to fatten up her dog on cheese, and she never turned me away.

Not to actual mirror, but a very close replica!
Not to actual mirror, but a very close replica!

This kind woman also had a garage sale once.  And I came with my dimes and she gave me the item I most coveted and could not afford. It was a 5×8 wooden mirror with birthday cake-esk purple flowers and pink ribbons sculpted in clay and affixed to it.

I was so moved by her generosity and the incredible beauty of this hideous item, that I ran home to proudly show my mother who tried her best to praise it and meet my expectations.

The point of all this is that I remember this neighbor and I am grateful for her unwavering kindness. There is no way she knew I admired her and would continue to admire her to this day. There is no way she knew that she was an example of generosity for me through these simple actions.

So, even if you’re just having a boring and useless-seeming Wednesday, remember that even a smile, a compliment or the gift of a hideous mirror, may affect someone in ways you can never know or imagine.

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