Florida’s fall season is casually dragging in. Yes, it’s still warm (the temperature is dropping a little ) but you can smell the change of season. The shift has provoked a series of early morning walks in my neighborhood. I love having that time to focus on the day ahead and to set my heart upon what is important. On Monday, I was thinking about influence. I pondered the importance of living with conviction whether it be in commitment to your job, loving your family and friends, or even seeing the best in others. It occurred to me that we are always training for greater assignment, and our advancement often depends on our faithfulness with small instructions. We live in a society where people often assign value and worth to the magnitude of the project….or the number of people….or the amount of resources involved…..or the breadth of influence. Do size and scope always equate into significance? I watched a video podcast recently entitled “Stop for the One.” Summary: would you turn your head to help the one in front of you? Are we so focused on long-term that we neglect today? What if the most important thing you did or significant word you spoke was to a person sitting next to you on the park bench…the office cube…the checkout line. What if it wasn’t a sermon…what if it was one word? What if it wasn’t a word…but holding a door? Simply acknowledging someone’s need before your own.
As I was walking, I noticed an elderly lady watering her lawn. She was propped up by a walking cane, holding a leash which was tethered to the most excitable little cocker spaniel. As I walked and waved, the puppy darted toward the street, taking the woman with him. Losing her balance, she threw the cane and fell hard into the mulch. Alarmed, I turned around to see her struggling. Immediately, I secured the puppy and ran up to the flower bed. Frail, and covered in wet mulch unable to lift herself up, I was stunned by her response…
“I’m so sorry. Silly me. I’m ok. Sorry to trouble you.”
What? Trouble me? Certainly she doesn’t think that such an unpredictable event would bother me? What about her!? I was moved with compassion, my eyes filled with tears as I stretched forth my hand to bear her up.
In a moment, I realized that we spend so much time apologizing for inconvenience and imperfections, that we don’t even allow ourselves the grace to recover from simple and uninvited mishaps. She continued on acknowledging embarrassment and the things she should have done to prevent the misfortune. I really can’t recount the details because I was too overwhelmed by the insight I was receiving. Love for her overcame me. And the next thing out of my mouth may have been the most important message to deliver,
“You are no trouble at all. You are wonderful.”
Mary and I walked into her house with her puppy. She was walking well and recovering with each step. All she needed was a hand to steady her.
Will you stop for the one?
Dress and Sweater: The Loft, Shoes: Target (circa 2007), Necklace Stella &Dot