We all love the days when everything goes according to plan. (I remember having one of those days back in the early 70s.) So nobody has perfect days all the time. Still it’s worth noting that each of us has the power, through small acts of kindness, to make any given day a little brighter for someone else. We all have times when we feel overwhelmed by events that seem to grow exponentially over the course of a day. That is exactly the time when the alert and compassionate “ripple makers” step in and take actions that completely alter the course of someone’s day. What we choose to do may seem insignificant, but to the recipient of a kind act, it can – and usually does – make a huge difference.
Suppose you see a woman struggling with three young children in line behind you at the grocery store. Invite her to go ahead of you. When you notice servicemembers having lunch at your favorite restaurant, pick up the tab, anonymously. Write a short note thanking them for their service, and ask the waitress to pass it along. Drop off new or gently used books, toys, or warm pajamas to a battered women’s shelter. Children often live there, too. If you have old, worn blankets or towels, why not donate them to the local animal shelter? How about that friend who may be going through a difficult time? Go visit, and take a cup of coffee or tea with you. Sometimes it’s sufficient just to know that someone cares enough to listen. Take a thirty minute walk and pick up litter along the way. Offer to shop for an elderly neighbor who can no longer drive. Greet everyone cheerfully, even when you may not be feeling especially upbeat.
Though they may seem like small things, these “little ripples” expand outward and touch so many lives. You’ll probably never know the scope or the impact of your kindness, or how many people you actually touch. But you can be absolutely certain that you aremaking a difference. So, come on friends, let’s get out there and make some ripples!
There’s something about coffee that just makes things seem better. On a cold winter morning a cup of coffee changes everything for me. From the very first sip my chills begin to melt away, and I feel them replaced, almost immediately, by a sense of well- being and calm. (In order to achieve the full effect of this, I must grasp the cup with both hands.)
Over the past several years I have observed that my occasional blue moods – almost without exception – can be instantly swept away by the single act of having a cup of coffee with a friend. Some will say this is all due to the love of a caring friend who is also a good listener. Perhaps. Or, maybe it’s the ritual of brewing a fresh pot of coffee together. Then again, it might be both. Pouring that first cup into our favorite mugs is very nearly magical. Watching the bubbles dance in the cups has a strange and hypnotic influence. As the steam escapes slowly into the air, it carries my troubles away with it, and they become smaller and smaller. Soon, the room is filled with a rich and comforting aroma, and we inhale deeply and exhale with a long sigh.
Now, with our coffee in hand, the friendly conversation begins in earnest, and so does the healing. Is it possible, I wonder, that most of our problems could be solved with little more than a good friend and a fine cup of coffee? Yes, maybe it is that simple. After all, coffee makes everything better!
I realize that it might be a few weeks premature, but today I want to bid a not-so-fond farewell to summer. So long to triple digit temperatures, endless hazy skies, and high humidity. Farewell to wilting flowers, drooping vegetable gardens, and faltering herb patches. Adieu to smelly, sweaty clothes, melting make up and unbelievably bad hair days. Good riddance to ants, ticks, mosquitoes, spiders, and all manner of creepy, crawly things. Bye bye to skin searing steering wheels, steamy sidewalks, and butt (oops!) bottom scorching bicycle seats. Adios to hot roofs, squeaky fans, and overheated air conditioners. Goodbye to shorts, tank tops, flip-flops, sandals, and boat shoes worn without socks. (my personal favorite) In a few weeks there will be no evidence of summer anywhere to be found. So, with a joyful and happy heart, I gladly say sayonara to summer!