What does it take to brighten your day, restore your faith, ease your suffering, or make you smile?
It might seem that only the biggest things can turn a rotten day into a better one. One scratchcard win, one £50 note discovered on the ground, one declaration of undying love, one letter of acceptance for that thing you’ve been hoping for and dreaming about. These things would certainly make you feel better.
They’re also almost certain not to happen.
What are the odds, right? But consider this.
Even the smallest candle can light up the dark.
Work has been difficult, and then last week I caught a horrible cold. Think congested, feverish, head stuffed, can’t breathe, can’t sleep misery. Well, still gotta work, so I slogged on. After surviving one long morning in which all I wanted to do was run away home and hide under my duvet, there was a knock at my door. I expected another claim on my time and fading energy, and my heart sank.
Instead, the receptionist brought in flowers. A pink bouquet with a card that read ‘your (sic) in our thoughts’. It had been left by someone I had seen earlier. Well, I was so moved by this, I could have wept.
I work in a so-called caring profession. I have colleagues, family and friends, some of whom knew how ill I felt. Yet this came from a near-stranger, who went to some trouble to help me feel better. And, as I type this, I look at my flowers and I still feel better.
It takes so little to shine a light, and you never know who needs it most. It need not be flowers; it can be any small, authentic kindness. Eye contact and a smile, a sincere enquiry followed by active listening are often missing in daily life. If we can supply them, and if we can be genuine then we connect on a basic human level, and that’s what we all crave.
Even a humble daisy would have been enough to let me know she cared. And yes, I will be sending a thank you card, to let her know I appreciated her gesture, more than she knew. It made me smile on a tough day, and that can be the greatest gift of all.
Maybe something I write will do the same for a reader one day. I hope so. In the meantime, I will look for an opportunity to pay it forward.