5 Minutes and $5

They say that when you write a blog, that you should bring value to the reader. But “value” can look very different from one person to the next.

“Success” is the same….it means so many different things…..financial success, relationship success, academic success, creative success, fitness success, and on and on the list goes.

The kind of value I’m hoping to provide with this post is not something you can quantify or put a price tag on.

To put into context what happened, I need to back up a few hours…..

I went to bed last night in a room, in a house, in a safe residential neighbourhood.

I had a peaceful, uninterrupted sleep next to my two fur-companions, a small dog and a large cat.

I slept on a comfy mattress, with four pillows, a clean sheet and a soft fleece blanket nearby in case I got too chilled.

The room was kept a comfortable temperature with air-conditioning going all night.

After having my morning greens (I wrote about Athletic Greens in my previous post….if you missed that one, go check it out) which I drank using filtered water, whilst reading the news on my phone and listening to music on my laptop…..I then went into the washroom, relieved myself, used soft toilet paper, flushed the toilet, had a warm shower with lovely smelling soap, shampoo and conditioner.

I toweled off in a soft clean towel, gently rubbed some serum into my face, put on some nice makeup, body lotion on my legs, dried my hair using a hair dryer, and got dressed in a light gauzy top, jean shorts, and comfy flip-flops.

I grabbed my eco-friendly shopping bag, sunglasses, face mask, and bottle of water, and headed out to the grocery store, which is a five minue walk from where I currently live.

This was the temperature outside:

By the time I walked to the plaza where the grocery store is located, I was dripping in sweat.

Now here’s where my day changed.

As I rounded the corner of the plaza, I noticed a man sitting on the hot pavement, sweat dripping from his hair into his eyes, with long pants on, old sneakers, a ratty t-shirt, and a cardboard sign that read, “Every little bit helps. God Bless.”

He wasn’t bothering anyone. He wasn’t being loud or obnoxious. He wasn’t outright asking for anything.

He was just waiting for someone to show some kindness.

I nodded acknowledgment to him, of seeing him, as I walked passed him, into the first store, which is a drug store.

I went to the grocery aisle….chose a chicken-flavoured cup o’ soup, a beef-flavoured cup o’ soup, and a case of 12 bottles of water….total came to about $5 CAD.

I walked back out to where the man was sitting, still quietly waiting for a helping hand. I handed him the soups and the case of water.

He looked genuinely surprised, and deeply grateful. With a gentleness to his voice, he thanked me sincerely and I went on my way.

If we back up even further, to 2019 (and before then), I would have just walked past this man. I would have judged him. “He should get a job” would be my first thought.

Jump to 2020….COVID….pandemic….lockdowns…..quarantines…..shortages…..people losing their jobs, their homes, their health, their loved ones.

I HAD a job….until April 2020. I had invested over thirty years of my life, more than half of my time on this planet, to serving clients, working with them, making their vacation dreams come true. But then I got laid off (due to travel grinding to a halt).

My sister kindly offered for me to stay with her temporarily. Not necessarily because I got laid off, but during this same time I had decided that I wanted to shift gears (no pun intended) and live in a travelling-home, so I moved in with her to save money for the tiny-home-on-wheels.

I’d like to add….I also have my Mother nearby, a 20 minute drive from my sister’s house, and had push come to shove, I know my Mom would have allowed me (and indeed welcomed me) to move in with her temporarily.

So I have two people who are available to me for serious help.

The man who I helped this morning, who knows if he has any family at all? Maybe his family is far away. Maybe he was abused as a kid/teen and ran away from that abuse.

“Old me” would think, “Ok, so he has no family. That’s sad. But he’s still a grown man, he should still be able to support himself”.

2020 (and 2021) has been very hard on people…..mental decline is on the rise…..suicide has been some people’s solution.

Maybe that man isn’t mentally strong enough to enter the workforce.

Maybe he doesn’t have an education.

Maybe he’s got no nice clothes to put on to go for a job interview.

Maybe he’s got no transportation to get him to a job-site.

There are many “maybes” but one thing I know for sure is this:

2020/21 has brought into very sharp focus that so much can change

And that’s the thing right there.

So much can change. Does YOUR 2021 look like you envisioned it would?

Doesn’t matter which God you believe in…..this isn’t about religion……this is about being aware of every single “little” thing you have, for being grateful for it, and for acknowledging, without judgment, that other people are less fortunate, and deserve your compassion.

Do you know that many people (more than half of the population in the USA) are only one pay cheque away from being homeless….and same here in Canada, one or two pay cheques away from living on the street.

I, personally, had no savings myself. Had my sister (or Mother) not been able to help me, I would be living a very different life right now.

You may be in a better situation….maybe you have lots of money saved up….or you own several income-generating properties and have multiple streams of revenue…..that’s great, kudos to you……you are financially successful. Can you see yourself bringing value to someone’s life. Can you buy them a bottle of water? Can you give them a bar of soap? A roll of toilet paper?

It’s very easy to judge others.

But first we should look at ourselves and ask, “Who am I to judge?” Is your life perfect? And did you get where you are today without any help from anyone?

I have an education, I have decades of work experience under my belt, I’m resourceful and will do what I have to do to get where I want to…..but I also have people who love me, to lean on them for support. Not everyone has that.

So who did I bring value to today? To that man. Having fresh water to drink is a blessing. But maybe that man will share some of those 12 bottles of water with someone even less fortunate than he is…..or maybe it’ll give him a little faith in humanity, and propel him to change his life for the better. Who knows?

One thing I do know….that tiny little bit of kindness, which took me no more than five minutes, and cost me no more than $5, also brought value to myself…..because when you’re kind to someone, YOU benefit too…..your soul expands with that kindness.

As his sign says, “Every little bit helps.

So now you tell me….did you find this post to be of value? How will you, or how did you, show kindness to someone today?

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