Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday is a good deed day

It is Monday. Here in Florida it is a rainy Monday. A much needed rain. It may be the perfect day to do something unexpectedly nice for someone.

A fellow quilter mentioned that she saw some children sitting on a little ride at the mall. It wasn't running and they didn't have the money to make it operate. She drew a couple dollars from her purse, walked over to the ride and inserted the money. Then she stood back and enjoyed their smiles and laughter for a few minutes before continuing her day. She explain her action away with "its because I don't have any grandchildren...."

What did her two dollars buy her? Smiles and laughter. A moment of childish delight. A feeling of stepping outside her day and doing something sponateous. And perhaps the priceless gift of passing on an act of generosity that the children will emulate. She has no idea how far this little act of kindness will travel.

Another quilter mentioned "change your thoughts; you change the world." Not just that 'I think I can' attitude, but also the way one looks at the same thing day after day. Instead of looking at the top of the table, get down and look at the underside. Instead of seeing the frown on your neighbor's face, notice his hands -- what do they tell you about him? And what does that motivate you to do?

Make a vow to do something unexpectedly nice today. It can be as simple as a smile or wishing a service provider a good day or simply looking them in the eye and saying a 'from the heart' thank you.

Maybe send a card or letter or email to someone you think about but don't often reach out to.

Maybe cook a special food for your family. Fix Sunday dinner on Monday and gather everyone together for the meal. Or maybe have a carpet picnic.

Donate to a worthy cause.

Visit your neighbor.

Say positive reinforcing things to coworkers.

It doesn't take a Pollyanna attitude to change the world. It could also be something like speaking up against a wrong.

Each good deed brings good back to you. We are all connected in this universe, so send out a few good vibrations into the stratosphere and enjoy the rain! It washes away, renews, stimulates growth, and makes the sunshine even brighter.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Entitlement or Simply Blind

The Chinese tell of a man of Peiping who dreamed of gold, much gold, his heart's desire. He rose one day and when the sun was high he dressed in his finest garments and went to the crowded market place. He stepped directly to the booth of a gold dealer, snatched a bag full of gold coins, and walked calmly away. The officials who arrested him were puzzled: "Why did you rob the gold dealer in broad daylight?" they asked. "And in the presence of so many people?"

"I did not see any people," the man replied. "I saw only gold." -- Louis Binstock

Do you ever think that this is a tale of the corporate world? I have been traveling daily back and forth from a center where businesses seem to have congregated and formed a little citadel of commerce. Everytime my vehicle gets close to the area, I feel like I have entered an 'entitlement' zone. As if rules that apply to the normal citizen no longer need to be heeded there. The first clue is the way people drive.

I've been driving for a number of years, okay a number of decades, and I can't recall (no it isn't Alzheimers) ever being cut off so often, people changing lanes willy nilly, someone speeding at twice the legal limit weaving in and out of traffic. Speed signs being used as 'only a suggestion.'

And never have I seen so many people stop at stoplights and then just sit there after it turned green. Of course they are chatting on cell phones or doing their makeup or eating their breakfast or reading the newspaper or texting someone, but you'd think they'd notice the traffic moving around them. Get into the parking lots and it is worse. Just trying to make a turn into a parking lot can be life threatening.

Yesterday I wheeled my husband's big green van into a wide turn in order to fit it into the handicap slot that has been assigned him by the front door. No one behind. No one in front. I began my turn and my husband yelled. A red car had turned off of the main road and at killer speed zipped right past me as I'm turning across her path. I slammed on the brakes. My husband was jettisoned out of his wheelchair and landed on his knees between the two front seats. As he knelt there he was the poster child for seat belts.

He had been preparing to get out of the van, who knew someone would feel the need to 'slip past' while I'm parking. We thought the risk was on the road to this little oasis. He was hurt and a bit humiliated and stunned as three volunteers maneuvered him back into his wheelchair. I was angry that such a 'me first' attitude, disregard for others, not to mention stupid unsafe behavior, had caused him such pain.

It seems like just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to entitlement based upon an overwhelming need to get ahead, get more money, get promoted, or simply get away with something.

I recently posted a little saying that seems to take on new meaning every time I venture out into the world.


I do so miss courtesy, consideration, love of fellow man.... Perhaps that is what was so poignant about the three men who came to rescue my husband. One was head of security, one was a dear friend, and one a stranger with a cast on his foot. They didn't hesitate to assess the situation, show a little sympathy, and then set to work to right the wrong. They all cared about giving comfort, making sure no one was harmed, wounded, or uncomfortable. All three wanted nothing more than to help. The help continued as we found a first aid kit and I bandaged the gash on my husband's leg. And people were considerate of him and his feelings, letting him regain his composure and get on with his day.
I still wonder about that woman who found her path so much more important that she put us all in harms way. She even had a choice to not come down that aisle. She could have seen us blocking her path and turned. Instead she made the choice to push her way through. Thoughtless? Clueless? Stupid? Unthinking? I don't know what to attribute her actions to. She may think nothing happened, no big deal. Maybe she went on with her day feeling entitled to what she had done. She got away with it. She wasn't held responsible. Forced to face the consequences of her actions....
But the action I took to avoid collision with her, since I was clearly the only one who could avoid the collision, caused me to harm my husband. Caused me to put on the brakes and throw him to the floor. Caused him to bleed.
I drive a big BIG green van and on the way home I envisioned that scene from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes where the Kathy Bates character rams the hell out of the two sweet young things in a VW with her bigger heavier car. All I could think was how satisfying it would be to be empowered and take matters into my own hands and stop following laws and being courteous and caring about others. It is such an inviting thought.
But then I realized -- I would be just like that woman in the red car. That is NOT someone I ever want to be.

For more about wheelchair safety visit and or go to my blog list and click on The Traveling Wheelchair blog and then scroll down to the appropriate story on his site.