For the past five minutes, my dog and I have been staring at the woman in the car that is parked directly next to us…
…pick at her nose.
We purposely parked all the way over here where the edge of the parking lot meets the only patch of green land for miles just so that our senior dog could wander and pee freely on the weeds instead of car tires. Then he could rest in the car while my husband shopped without being bothered by nosy passerby’s poking at the window going “Awww, wook at da dowwgeeee!”
I am fascinated at how enormous this Meijer parking lot is. I mean it’s so large that you could fit every grocery store in my entire city from Canada in it and you could still have room for parking. And she had to park right next to us and pick her nose.
I can’t stop staring…
It’s day one of our road trip to the cottage and so far, it has been eventful. There was an arrest at the border that involved several customs officers and their guns. My son shouted from the backseat “Oh man! Thank goodness I put my Nerf gun in the trunk so they won’t see it!”
When the situation was finally under control and we were allowed to safely enter through the customs inspection area, we were met with an officer who was involved in the arrest. He was rubbing away at the furrow of his brow when he grabbed our passports and rattled off the series of questions on who we were, where we were going, etc. He seemed unimpressed by us and our adventures and just wanted us gone when he flicked our passports back. Before we took off my son said, “Thank you so much. I hope that you have a better day sir.”
The officer’s shoulders jolted back a bit as if he was taken of guard, “Oh um, yeah!” his face softened, “Thanks kid. You too!”
As we drove off I said, “He looked stressed out.”
“I know Momma, that’s why I said that. Maybe it will make him feel better and have a better day.”
From a very young age, I was taught and it was reiterated over and over (and even now in my 30’s), that our world is hard and cruel and that in order to survive it, you had to dish out what was being served to you; that if someone was mean, you have to be twice as mean back.
Fight. Fight. Fight!
In the pit of my stomach, I felt that this was a horribly wrong way to look at life. I wanted so desperately to believe that people were inherently good and that they weren’t always intentionally being mean.
Because I wasn’t always intentionally being mean when I was feeling particularly bad.
There was something more to the way that people behaved in they way that they did – bad days, moments, situations – and that took a lot of time for me to figure that out on my own. I really wish that I had someone to tell me then that there was more; that yes the world can be hard and cruel at times but you don’t have to meet every person’s bad attitude in an alleyway with a baseball bat.
Sometimes I picture us all in the same river and we are either gleefully floating, swimming with the current or against the current, treading in the same spot, sinking with a smile, or just drowning.
Wherever you see yourself in that lake know this: that moment in time, it passes.
And there is more good days than not.
Know that there are more good people out there than not.
And there are people who genuinely do care that you have a better day – like my son does and I do and my husband does.
People care about YOU.
We teach our son to try his hardest to look for at least one good thing when he feels that his days are not OK.
And when he can, on the days when he’s feeling happy, try to shine his beautiful light brighter so that the people who need it most, can see it.
We lead by example:
Sharing our light, our respect, our compassion, and our kindness with others who need it most or with just random people like the customs officer because my God…
…these are the most priceless gifts you can give to anyone you encounter in your travels.
Help the person who is sinking with a smile or who is drowning.
You unknowingly touch the lives of people every day.
Make it positive if you can.