Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on September 11, 2001? More importantly, do you remember how you felt – how we all felt – in the hours, days and months that followed? Yes, there was sorrow, dismay and anger, but there was also a new, urgent sense of community. We were afraid and in that fear, we began to realize just how much our families, friends and neighbors meant to us. We realized that time was short and precious, that our time here was borrowed and so we began to be more aware of our connections.
We all eventually went back to work, back to our routines. But those routines were not quite the same. Something was different. We said hello to the person we saw every morning standing at the bus stop with us. We gave our seat on the subway to an elderly woman. We asked the guy from whom we bought coffee every morning how he was doing. Things changed, we changed. Imperceptible changes, perhaps, but changes for the better.
It’s been almost 10 years now since that terrible day. Many of us are still a bit more aware of how precious it all is and how quickly it can all be taken away. But there are far too many of us who have forgotten. You see it all the time: people fighting in the streets over a parking spot, angry drivers honking their horns at traffic. Little by little, many of us have reverted back to our pre-9/11 behaviors and attitudes. This should not be.
One small thing each day
It shouldn’t take much for us to make this change naturally. It really should just be, well, natural. It’s very simple. It just takes one small thing each day. Say hello, smile, buy someone a cup of coffee, give someone change for the bus. None of these things take much of an effort, but they are worth more than what they appear to be.
I remember reading somewhere that you should smile or say “good morning” to someone at random that you pass in the street or see during your commute because you never know how that greeting or that smile could change that person’s day or life. For all you know, you could save someone who was thinking about ending their life. I know this sounds dramatic and extreme, but truly, you don’t know how your simple smile could affect someone. And it really doesn’t take much to smile or say hello, or give up your seat on the bus. It just takes being thoughtful.
During a time when turning on the news yields nothing but bad news – natural disasters, wars, crime – perhaps we should think more about being nicer – to our family, our friends, our planet. After all, it costs absolutely nothing to be kind, but the effect of kindness is indeed priceless. What do you think?
Tell us your story
Do you have story you want to tell us? Write in and let us know what you feel or what you’ve done to change someone’s life, either in a small way or a big way. E-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or write: Juniper Berry, PO Box 790275, Middle Village.