We may not always realize this fact but one life or one word can impact another life, deeply, for better or for worse. There may be someone you don’t even realize exists and your life affects that person in some way, big or small.
Recently I moved into a new house with my family and out in the back is another house and the backyard to that house is against the backyard to my house. A man used to live there who I saw everyday out in the back. He may never have really noticed me but I noticed him.
One thing I noticed was that his house was constantly lit up in the back. His kitchen light was always on.
And during the holiday season his house was decorated and all lit up beautifully with all kinds of sparkling, glittery decor and lights. I loved seeing it everyday until the season ended.
Then over a month ago he got a new pitbull puppy who he let out in the yard all throughout the day and night and my big pitbull loved that little dog. They would look at each other through the fence. But then one day the man did not have the dog anymore.
He was just gone. And my dog would go to look for him all throughout the day, everyday for a while. The puppy wasn’t there very long at all but my dog already got used to him and wanted him back.
Then shortly after the dog was gone, the man was also gone.
His house is completely dark day and night now and I never see him anymore. I’m not generally a nosy or intrusive person.
But I do wonder why the man disappeared like that. Maybe he just moved.
My mom said maybe he got sick or died. But I don’t like to think about that. I want to think he moved or is on vacation. A young couple who is his family who came sometimes, came after he left for a while and then they were gone too.
I woke up during the night recently and I realized how much I miss seeing him, seeing the lights, the decorations, the puppy…
Not in a creepy, stalkerish way. I just miss the simple things.
This man probably has no idea that his life has an effect on mine. I did not know him, never spoke to him, don’t know his name or anything at all about him yet I was touched in some way by his presence in this life.
This Winter that was just here, one day when I was in Center City Philadelphia on a bus going home, I saw a person holding a sign that read “Homeless & Addicted”.
This person was collecting money. Usually, although not always, when I see homeless people, they are middle age or old and they are men and often unclean looking and ragged/scraggly. I definitely don’t judge them negatively by their looks or anything at all. This is just my observation. And I wish I were able to help them in any way I can.
This person I saw on a frigid cold freezing day, is a young woman with long hair and she was very clean looking and her clothes were clean looking.
She was sitting on a street corner where the bus I was on stopped for a few minutes.
Through her physical beauty I was able to detect pain in her eyes. And I could not have imagined sitting on a street corner for who knows how long on one of the coldest Winter days of the year.
And on top of that struggling with an addiction and nowhere to go.
I instantly had the urge to get off the bus and approach her. I had no money and I guess giving her money wouldn’t have been the best idea anyway since she was struggling with an addiction of some sort.
But I felt a strong need to do something for her. Or say something uplifting. The bus began to move and I contemplated getting off the bus and bringing her home with me.
But since I don’t live alone I knew it would not go over too well. My family would have been pissed and turned her away at the door.
So I stayed on the bus. Reluctantly.
I wondered about her life (in a non judgmental way) and what horrible things must have happened to contribute to her sitting on a street corner, alone, in the midst of freezing Winter air.
I felt complete empathy & compassion for her as I thought of my own life.
I am not homeless. I am not addicted. I have never sat alone out in unbearably cold air or any weather collecting money. And I can never pretend to know what any of that is like for someone.
But somehow, somewhere deep inside me, something in me connected with her, resonated with something in her eyes.
I only saw her for a few minutes out the window that one day and never again.
But those few minutes impacted me in some way.
Even stops later I thought about getting off the bus and going back. Maybe I would have if I had more money.
Maybe I could have bought her something hot to drink to get her out of the cold for a while or maybe I could have been a friend to her for a day.
But none of that happened.
I told my mom about her and she told me I better never bring a homeless person home. She also said that the girl may not have been homeless and just pretending, to get money.
But whatever her true circumstance, I know she was desperate to be collecting money in the freezing, painful cold.
One day recently I was in a store and for some reason I had a flash back of when I was in middle school out in the schoolyard on a Windy day. My long waist length hair was blowing in the wind.
One of the girls I was standing with said to me “Do something with that ugly hair.”
And another girl quickly responded with “Her hair is not ugly; she has very pretty hair.”
That was well over a decade ago but even today I can smile at the compliment of the sweet girl who defended me. Over a decade later I can still feel her words today. It’s not just what she said but the fact that she was kind enough to want to help me and compliment me. I can still feel the warmth of her words. There are lots of people like that in this world. Ones who want to help and heal and be friendly and express kindness. And there are also lots like the other girl was that day who want to offend and be vicious and negative.
But it’s much, much better to focus on the kindness of people than the cruelty of others.
One day approximately one year ago I was at work when a lady brought an add for a Beef & Beer for a young woman who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia and her family was struggling with her medical expenses and because of her illness she was out of work.
She was 24 years old then.
I looked at the ad and saw a picture of a beautiful young woman with a bright smile and with no hair. I never knew her or heard of her before that day but I saw that her family lives somewhat close to where I live.
It hurt me to know how sick she was and the physical & emotional pain that comes along with this terrible disease and all the pain her family & friends, and others close to her had to endure.
I looked at her picture and wished so desperately that I could just take away her sickness. But I knew that’s beyond my control.
So I walked away feeling helpless. Then suddenly I remembered there are e-mail addresses on the ad.
So I chose one and e-mailed asking the person to tell me anything at all I can do to help support the young woman and her family/friends in any way at all that I could.
The sister of the girl wrote back to me and said she was very grateful for my desire to help and that her family would appreciate if I would buy some things such as eating utensils and small gifts for the raffles at the beef & beer. I was not able to attend it because of work but I was definitely able to send in some gifts for the family and the girl.
My dad helped me buy some things. And I took it to the girl’s mom’s work. When I went in to take the gifts a sweet and friendly lady asked how she can help me. I explained that I was not there for service but to drop off some things for the young woman and it turned out that the lady I was talking to is that girl’s mom.
I could see in her eyes that she was deeply touched and even surprised.
She told me how incredibly grateful and moved she was that I wanted to help her.
After the beef & beer ended I received a beautiful thank you e-mail by her sister. I was never expecting it and her sister did not have to be so kind. She told me how great and successful the event was and how thrilled her sister was and how much fun her sister had at her event.
I loved knowing that her sister and everyone had a lot of fun and that the event was so successful. ❤
I also “liked” the girl’s facebook page and I was able to tell by her statuses that she is a very, very positive young woman. Even through her sickness she wrote of how happy and thankful she is and how much she loves everything. She wrote about how difficult her illness and the treatments are but that she still was so happy.
Her strength astounded me when I felt everything she wrote.
I’m thankful for the lady who brought that ad to my work to help that girl. Because of her, I also got a chance to help.
My point in this post is that words and actions and intentions can have an impact even years later so we should watch what we do and say. We may not realize the true and full impact our words, actions, or lives have or will have on others. You may think your words won’t matter at all or as much as they really will.
If you say something to hurt it may hurt much more than you intended. And if you say something to heal, your words can be much more healing or comforting than you ever thought imaginable.
And if someone has a problem that you have never struggled with yourself and maybe never will and even if you are not close to anyone with that kind of problem, you can still have empathy and compassion for that person.
You don’t have to know exactly what it’s like to have concern and to care for that person.
Also, we all have or have had some sort of problem or some kind of pain, either a little bit or a lot and we can draw on that to be more empathetic to others even with problems and pain different than our own.
And there is often something we can all do to help another. It may not be something that seems really big or important to us but to that one person at that one moment it can be the world. So reach out your hand to someone in need.
“Today will never come again. Be a blessing. Be a friend. Encourage someone. Take time to care. Let your words heal, and not wound.” ~Unknown
“Always go that extra mile, it’s never crowded.”
“How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.”
“I wondered why somebody didn’t do something. Then I realized, I am somebody.”
“Not being able to do everything is no excuse for not doing everything you can.”
“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”
“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
Edward Everett Hale
X0xo Kim ❤