Monday, March 18, 2019

the most powerful thing

I was struck by something that happened today and I wanted to share it.  Normally I like to take some time and carefully consider things before sharing.  I don't think this one can wait.  Who knows where it will go.

I am a lucky guy.  Lucky, blessed.  Whichever word best suits your worldview.  As an artist it's always been easy for me to see the world through the lens of a Creator and the created.  It certainly explains my instinct to create.  But things have been good for me in really big ways.  There are lots of very, very important things in life that have come to me in positive ways.  This is a way of saying that I have much for which to be grateful.  And not just "I'm grateful for coffee and chocolate", which I am...I'm talking about the really big things.  

I honestly try to pay attention to those things and not take them for granted.  I spend time every day taking note of these things and sometimes saying them out loud.  So they're on my mind and I know they're important.

But then this thing happened today.

I arrived at school and was quickly greeted by someone who handed me a cookie.  This shook my entire day.  It wasn't a check for a million dollars, it wasn't a cure for an illness, it wasn't even a beach house.  It was a cookie.  I was stunned.  It made my morning and I've thought about it all day.  

I imagine this person also eats cookies.  I imagine they could have eaten this cookie.  It would have made a lot of sense.  But instead, they wrapped it up and thought of someone outside of themselves.  Someone who they thought would really enjoy a cookie.  Then they walked out of their way, carrying a cookie that would have been delicious if they ate it, and brought it to me.  

I've thought a lot today about why this touched me the way it did.  It may have something to do with the Lenten season and me trying to be more in touch with random acts of kindness.  It may even have something to do with a Netflix show I stumbled upon called "The Kindness Diaries".  In this reality/documentary type show, the host travels around the world with no money and survives completely on the kindness of strangers.  He asks for gas money in every town, he asks for meals every day and each night he has to find a place to stay for free.  His theory he's setting out to prove is that people are not the evil, horrible beings you see on the news reel every night.  He believes that people are really kind.  The show more or less bears that out.  

And maybe he's right.  

There's this movie I love called "Stranger Than Fiction".  At the end of the movie there's a line that goes, "Sometimes when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies.  And fortunately when there aren't any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand or a kind and loving gesture or a subtle encouragement or a loving embrace or an offer of comfort........and we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties which we assume only accessorize our days - are here for a much larger and nobler cause.  They are here to save our lives."

I'm becoming convinced that the world is not to be changed with large actions and gestures.  There's something about love that always seems to work in exactly the opposite way we expect.  I'm becoming convinced that it's those small things, those cookies we give people, that have the power to change the world.  One small act at a time.  

You wanna be powerful?  You wanna do something important?  Go do something small for someone right now.  It's the most powerful thing you can do.  

Thank you for the cookie.