Not all at once, of course. When a friend asked me to consider drinking a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar with “the mother,” diluted in a glass of water, I was inclined to do so because she didn’t begin with “You should…” It was her hope for me. It’s a legacy, of sorts, to influence someone for the good.
This weekend I heard the story of a man named Carl. He is friendly and waves at all his neighbors. He works at a local elementary school as a crossing guard. Those folks get waves too, each one individualized. Although I haven’t seen him, I can imagine this gesture as a delightful start to a Monday morning school day. Down the street, no one is doing the same thing. It must be quite dreary.
Circles of influence. We all have them. The usual image is a stone dropped in a pond. The waves go out and out, ending at the shores. The problem, however, is that we long for something not so ephemeral. We have an innate desire to leave our mark, as it were. The thing is, also of course, that we never know how we’re affecting others. A word, a look, a smile, a frown—anything we do can be for good or for not.
On FaceBook, the fount of lots of half-way wisdom, someone posted a poem with this premise: We are all in line to leave this earth. We don’t know where we are in this line, and most of the time we don’t even think of ourselves as being in it. But we are. A man named Peter C. Nielsen may have written the poem, but he does have a presence on FB daily. I like his entry that’s a meme of a caterpillar and a butterfly having this conversation: “You’ve changed.” And “We’re supposed to.” My quibble with the being in line was that it was a bit depressing to have someone point out a depressing truth that at my age even more depressing. Also, the poem use “can not” instead of “cannot.” His autocorrect should have caught that.
Emulating the positive (I waved at someone on my street today) is powerful, but so is avoiding the negative. Saying to myself “I don’t want to be like that” is no less frequent that saying “I want to be more like that.” Perhaps it doesn’t matter. Either/or works to improve.
One last connection: When two good examples of how to be enter one’s life, one pays more attention. The topic is tarantulas. Some time ago, I wrote about my phobia. It didn’t end well for the aforementioned creatures. Two younger women have now suggested—kindly—that I might rethink this. And I have. It’s going to be hard, really hard, but I think I can. When I found the dessicated body of a tarantula recently, I didn’t rejoice. Instead, I mourned that I had missed the opportunity to let it live.
Yes, I think we are supposed to change. Even if it’s one tablespoon of vinegar at a time.