|London Christmas Market 2013|
I have a problem in life - a real funny problem believing that ultimately that I'm a good person and frankly that other people are good.
You often hear the stories of people who have done something nice and then it makes you think "I should be doing more in my life" and it is sometimes hard to find those opportunities and then having really a courage do to something about a problem you see.
There are so many problems I have seen and see in the world around me and honestly for the life of me I would love to stand up and change them but it often seems impossible. I have always been one to try and help others - frankly often because there are so many times it would have been a welcome relief to have help from someone or times where I have received help and have been very thankful for the help I've gotten.
There are two things that stand out for me that I really haven't shared before and I feel now that I want to share the stories. The most was the most touching and moving experience of my entire life. It happened in 2013 on my trip to Europe. By way of background - I have family in Europe (Hi guys!) that for a variety of reasons I hadn't seen since I was 12 (just a few...decades) so when my divorce was finalizing it was extremely important for me that no matter what else I had to make sure that I visited with my family. I was lucky enough to meet and fall in love with Husb (at the time my fiancé). So we took a month long trip to Europe (sounds fantastic right? It was great - we spend 10 days with his family in England and then another 10 days with Family in Netherlands and Belgium before having sometime in Paris, Venice and London on our own). The trip was amazing and changing in so many ways. I got to say hi to family, one of whom would pass last year (I miss you Trui) and I got to say good bye to family that had passed before I could make the trip. Despite all of the time with family, the most moving experience would come on what was our second to last day of a month long trip. We had booked the London Eye experience where we would go in the day and then at night. On our way off the London Eye we spotted a beautiful Christmas market along the river and decided to check it out. The smells, food and sights were amazing. I was hungry and decided to get some food to eat while Husband grabbed a table. While I was waiting for my food and then starting to eat I noticed a gentleman. Nothing about him was overly unique or made him stand out except that he was checking garbage cans. I wasn't sure at first why he was looking in the cans and then when he pulled out some food it was very apparent what the issue was. I approached him and offered for him to come and join us at our table and share our food with us. We spoke with him briefly about his life and that he was homeless and had been struggling to find work - he was also having problems with being in contact with his family because of his situation and after the month of being able to reconnect with my extended family I couldn't imagine what he was going through. At the end of the "meal" I said to him thank you. I was grateful to share this experience and I gave him a big hug and he started to cry saying it had months since anyone had given him a hug. The above is the only picture I have - the Husband took it at the time without my knowledge and when I did find out I was upset. Now I'm happy. I look at this picture now and then to remind myself of how such a small simple act that really has no impact or bearing on my life can make such a huge difference to someone else. Really - what were we out? Nothing - we likely wouldn't have finished the food.
That's what it's really about - taking the time and the opportunity to do these small simple things every day. I know this year for Christmas I reached out to our neighbours (both of whom are elderly and don't have family that live close by) and extended them an invitation to join us for Christmas supper. I always invite people who don't have family or friends to be with to join us for Christmas or Thanksgiving - I mean who doesn't have a lot of left overs?
I have started volunteering with Girl Guides lately and as a part of the closing the girls say "Have I done my best" and "Have I done my daily task" and it has started to make me look for the small opportunities in life to help others in any way. Like letting someone cut you in the grocery line when they have just a few things, offering some extra change to someone who can't find the right amount of money to make a purchase. If we all just did a little wouldn't it go a long way?
Those are my thoughts today - I'm struggling to really understand I'm not a bad person (yes I have self-confidence issues) and my theory is the way to fix some of those is to help others.