Today's post brings you absolutely no pretty pictures of inspiration.
It brings you absolutely no ideas to create something material to make you smile.
Today's post will hopefully strike a chord with your hearts.
You see.......today I heard a very sad story and I witnessed an act of non caring and thoughtlessness.
I was at the checkout at the supermarket waiting to buy my groceries.
My 10 year old son was standing with me waiting patiently .
It was a quarter to six on a Monday night and all of the world was waiting to go home and escape the cold night.
The grocery store was full of all walks of life. Some happy stories, others not so much.
I watched a heavily pregnant mother who was clearly a drug addict, arguing with her partner, swearing and cussing.
I saw students who were watching their pennies as they walked through the aisles trying to work out in their minds and purses just how much food they could afford for the week.
I saw an elderly woman arguing with her toddler grandchild about which sandwich meat he wanted from the deli.
There were not many smiley faces in this place.
I know ! I know !...... It was the end of a very long day and people were in a rush and weren't in the mood for smiling.
The man in front of us in the queue was watching his every purchase being scanned by the checkout girl. He was very obvious a young, single man who was watching every penny and I could see the relief on his face when the total was reached and he could afford all of his groceries.
I was the last customer to be served in our aisle and as I put my last lot of groceries up on the conveyor belt, the man paid and walked out the door to his car.
The girl at the checkout ringing up our groceries began a conversation with us about all the 'types' that were shopping in the store that night. She mentioned to us that the day before, a man who apparently looked 'normal and like an ordinary man', had filled several shopping bags full of groceries and tried to walk out of the store without paying. He tried desperately to get out of the store at various exits but eventually police arrived and he was arrested.
Interestingly enough, at the same time as this girl was sharing her story, she all of a sudden realised that the last customer (the young man), had left two bags of groceries behind.
I asked my son to quickly run outside and try to catch up with him to tell him. I just KNEW that the man would have been devastated if he had have reached home to discover that he had so many items missing.
The checkout girl flippantly said "Don't worry, it happens all of the time. At least 4 times times today alone actually !".
I stood there gobsmacked at her absolute lack of care and concern. I could see my sons little face and his longing to help. He is a gentle little soul who likes to help others. At the tender age of ten years old he made his own mind up. He ran outside scouring the car park for the young man until he found him and came in to collect his groceries.
All the while the young girl at the checkout joked and laughed with the checkout operator next to her as she continued to scan my items.
My son walked back into the store with a very happy man in tow. He had found the man and told him about his parcels that he had left behind.
With a huge smile and gratitude on his face the young man thanked my son very much for his help, smiled at me with gratefulness and walked back out the door.
I looked at the checkout girl and went to pay my bill.
"Yes there will always be different people in the world, some good, some bad. But did you think for a moment that the 'ordinary looking man' who tried to steal the groceries may have been so desperate to feed his family that he would stoop to any level ? People walk the earth in many shells and even these so called 'normal looking ones' get desperate !"
my rant continued......
"That man who left his groceries here really looked like he needed those groceries. Was it not worth a little fuss to give him that extra hand to see him with his full grocery order ?"
"Yes I know what you mean, it's just that it happens so many times a day," she replied
I told her that many years ago I had a very close friend who was going through some hard times financially and it was threatening her marriage. My friend got so desperate that she called a local charity to ask them for some help. They had kindly given her groceries and vouchers to help with her bills. Today my friend has sadly divorced from her husband but each year she gives generously to this charity that helped her.
The young girl thought for a moment and pondered my words.
I said a quick goodbye and walked off with my son to our car.
As I walked, I hoped that my words had somehow sunk in to her soul.
Others can be so quick to judge. Their judgements alone slows the world down a little and makes a blue sky turn grey.
Every soul has his or her story. We may not always agree on their actions or thoughts but we should always give them the benefit of the doubt.
I will never forget the day when I was playing with my children in a city park and a lady approached us. She was very obviously a 'worker of the streets'. She had a very tight short skirt on and boots that went up to her knees. She spoke in a rough voice but when she spoke to my baby in the pram, her roughness turned to honey.
I was watching on very carefully because I didn't want her to touch my baby as she looked dirty and drug ridden.
Willing her in my mind to go away, I began to listen to this lady's story.
"I don't know why I am telling you this but I am," she said to me.
" I look into your baby's eyes and see such innocence. My innocence was taken away by my very own father. He used to abuse my mother and my siblings. He was so horrible and we were all so terrified of him. One day I couldn't take it anymore and I left home."
"what happened?" I asked.
"He tied me to the back of his truck and dragged me along a gravel road behind it. I was 12 years old !"
and with that she turned and lifted the back of her top up and revealed scars so deep that this act of terror had left her.
It was at that very moment that I learnt not to judge.
Every person has a story, it is not for us to judge.
No wonder this lady had ended up on the streets. Maybe if one kind stranger had shown more love then her life may have been changed forever. Instead she was judged by her looks and had led a life of sadness.
I will never forget this lady as long as I live. She was a tortured soul and I bet you my bottom dollar that her life would have been so very different had her home life been a happy one instead of a sad one. As a human being I like to think that I make a difference in the world.
I strive to show compassion, I enjoy helping people and seeing a smile instead of a frown. I have been known to help others when I have been at my lowest. It makes me who I am.
I truly believe that if there was less judgement and more compassion in this world then the world would turn a little more gently on it's axis.
Sometimes the greatest teacher appears to us as a humble checkout operator or indeed a street worker. Everyone has something to share that will make another person grow.
LISTEN and pay notice to small details. Our little angel friends upstairs are waiting for us to listen and lookout for their signs.
Today I listened and I watched actions that made my awareness grow. I hope that by pointing out to this young checkout girl what I saw and believed, that I may have made her think.
Tonight as I lay in my warm bed, I will think of the man so desperate for food that he was willing to steal his groceries. I will think of the lady who had such a horrendous upbringing and I will thank my angels above who have blessed me with four amazing little mouths to feed and a husband who loves us all and works so hard to make us happy.
We all have a tale to tell, some sad and some happy. It is our own self that weaves our web of life and creates our journey.
Reach for the stars and make that journey a happy one. If you feel inclined, then reach out to somebody who really needs help and give them a light tug up and encourage them to smile. It could changed their whole world.