My lesson? As challenging as that front counter may be some days, I was reminded we each have our challenges and it's how we handle ourselves and the interactions with others are what make us human and develops our humanity. Weeks later I was on the other side of the counter where I received another lesson of kindness. My husband and I were checking out when the sales person asked me if we had coupons. As I was explaining we’d not planned to shop and left everything at home, a young woman stepped up and handed my husband a generous coupon, smiled and disappeared in the aisles.
Yes, it’s been a tough year: government budget struggles continue, world peace is still outside our reach, mother nature persists with random devastation, and millions of pets will never know the love of a human companion. But we have in our grasp the ability to offer kindness, one gracious event at a time. Maybe it can be lavish and extravagant or maybe it’s that old saying of turning the other cheek. But know that by offering a kindness, we all gain.
I've lost track of the lessons I received this season, but this week’s lesson was a little more sentimental and came while preparing to host Thanksgiving—I found the following folded in a book I’d kept after packing up my mothers things last fall.
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas,
A Morning Prayer
Let me today do something that will take
A little sadness from the world’s store,
And may I be so favored as to make
Of joy’s too scanty sum a little more.
Let me not hurt, by any selfish deed
Or thoughtless word, the heart of foe or friend.
Not would I pass unseeing worthy need,
Or sin by silence when I should defend.
However meager be my worldly wealth,
Let me give something that shall aid my kind . . .
A word of courage, or a thought of health
Dropped as I pass for troubled hearts to find.
Let me tonight look back across the span
'Twixt dawn and dark, and to my conscience say,
Because of some good act to beast or man . . .
"The world is better that I lived today.”
Ella Wheeler Wilcox