Words of Affirmation| 52 Acts of Grace | Week 2

acts of grac Week 2

Last weeks act of grace was to share a smile, a stranger, a co-worker, a store-keeper. Share a smile and really feel its value.

As I travelled on the C-train, walked along the street I learned an interesting lesson — it’s hard to share smiles when people’s faces are turned down so they can read things on the tiny screen of their cell phones.

It is an ubiquitous posture. People sit, stand, walk, head down, chin tucked in, hands in front holding a tiny cell phone.

It’s hard to catch their eyes.

Except for the three people sitting on the bench on the sidewalk at the end of the block near my office. Their eyes were easy to catch. Two of them sat on the bench, one of them lay on the ground straight out across the sidewalk in front of the bench.

His eyes were closed. I wasn’t sure if he was hurt, sleeping, passed out…

As I walked up I stopped to ask the two people on the bench. “Is he okay? Does he need help?”

They smiled at me. Waved their hands in the air as if to say, “Nah. Everything’s okay.”

The man on the ground opened his eyes at the sound of my voice. Sat up.

“Do you need any help?” I asked him.

“I need five bucks!” he said, his voice filled with enthusiasm.

I laughed out loud and replied, “So do I!”

And we laughed together.

He got up to sit on the bench.

“I’m glad you’re okay,” I told him before continuing on my way, the sound of his laughter ringing behind me.

A few other people did smile back during the week. The C-train driver whom I waved at and smiled as the train pulled into the station.

The woman running towards the doors as I held them open for her.

The man I smiled at when he stood to let a mother and child have his seat.

The woman on an elevator who like me, was wearing shoes, no socks, even though it was a frosty morning. We had a lovely chat about our desire to believe it’s spring.

The woman at the street corner waiting for the same pedestrian light to change.

But it was stunning to see how many people were so engrossed in the small screen they held in their hands.

Note to self: Do less looking at my cell phone. Do more smiling at people.



The difference is in our human connection

She is maneuvering her scooter wheelchair up the ramp into the Mac’s store where I am headed to buy cough drops. I call out to her that I will open the door, slip around her scooter and hold it open. She nods her head, grunts a muffled ‘thank you’ (I think) and moves away.

Inside the store, she struggles to move her scooter through the aisles to the cooler section. I watch and ask if I can help.

“I just want a Coke,” she says and I open the fridge door, grab one down and pass it to her. Again, she nods her head, mumbles and moves away.

At the checkout I step back to make room for her to get into the line. This time, she acknowledges my presence. She smiles at me, comments on the heat and how difficult it is to get around for her as she’s just got the scooter. “Cities aren’t really designed for people like me,” she says.

“It must be very challenging,” I comment and she tells me more about her difficulties.

I notice two puppies in a cloth animal carry bag at her feet and she tells me their names. “Buddy” and “Friend”. We chat about her dogs. I tell her how I like their names. “It must be nice to know you always have a buddy and a friend around,” I quip.

She laughs. “Yeah. Except, this Buddy, he can be a real little dickens. Always trying to run off. He’s so nosy. He wants to know what’s going on everywhere!”

And then it’s her turn and the sales clerk greets her and I know she comes here often because he reaches over towards the lottery machine and asks, “Quick Pick?

She laughs. “Not this time. Just the Coke.” And I wonder if, as happens to many, the month has too many days for her assistance cheque.

She holds the coke out towards the clerk but the counter is too far up for her to reach from a sitting position. She’s told me she can walk, but it’s uncomfortable in the heat and I offer to pass the Coke to the clerk and she is grateful. She hands me the bottle and her Toonie (a $2 coin) and I pass both to the clerk. He scans the coke, counts out her change. I pass both back to the woman.

“I’m the intermediary!” I say.

And we all three share a moment connected through laughter.

I pay for my cough drops. The clerk says, “Thanks for all your help.”

The woman is moving towards the exit door and a man in line races over to open it for her. He smiles, she smiles, and I smile as I walk out behind her through the open door the man is holding open for me too.

“Thank you,” I smile.

“Have a great day,” he says. “Oh, and thank you for being so happy this morning too. You brightened my day.”

“You brightened my day too.” I tell him. “I love open doors!”

And we part to go our separate ways and I know the day has been made different because of those small connections made through our human connection on a hot sunny morning in July.