2012 seems to be a new beginning for most. A time to lose all animosity we’ve had for others, a time for forgiveness, a time to move on. It’s also a time to discover new people who could have been simply under our noses and we’ve had a chance to get to know them and wish we had have known them better before – people like neighbours, friend’s parents, the school crossing lady, a work colleague, whoever it is… and when you do get to know them that little bit better, you realise that somehow, that person has touched our soul.
I read a story recently about a single mum and a red-back spider haunting her letterbox. Spiders were her worst fear and poisonous ones just made her turn white. She literally called out for help, hoping someone would hear her, as she tried to rescue her mail, but no one answered. She posted Facebook messages, hoping that a friend nearby might just pop around and get rid of her unwelcome friend for good. But time went by, and no help. She decided to take it in her own hands, and knock on her neighbour’s door – a door she had no idea who lived behind it, a door that could be a fear bigger than her spider fear, but she trusted her instincts hoping that whoever was behind it would be willing to remove her spider friend. Her neighbour, a Hungarian with worker’s overalls on, a sweaty brow and paint splashes on his forehead, accepted her plea for help. He grabbed one of his worker’s rags, marched over to the letterbox and squished the offender in the thick muslin cloth. The single mum was relieved and thanked her neighbourly hero.
Her Hungarian friend was also single, telling the single mum that his wife died of cervical cancer a few years back after not having a pap smear done for ten years. His mission in life was to pre-warn women about the dangers of not being checked and urged the single mum to be checked if she hadn’t taken that uncomfortable test in the last two years. She knew it was her obligation to her kids to be checked as well as herself, but before meeting someone who’d actually been touched by the disease, she really didn’t understand the pain that it could cause emotionally to our loved ones. It really touched home.
They got talking about their lives and ambitions to discover they had a common hobby – painting. Both had been too scared to approach a gallery to sell their works, even though friends had convinced them how good they were. They laughed it off knowing that friends are friends, and you don’t know if they know what they are talking about or just being kind. They looked at each other’s work and saw the techniques and application in each other’s work really stood out. They agreed that they would inspire each other to get into an exhibition, either through a gallery or the Rotary Club, just to see if someone was willing to put their hand in their pockets to pay for their works.
Within three weeks, the single mum had found a local church exhibition who was willing to take on her work. Her Hungarian neighbour had found an artist who had a regional market stall willing to share her stall with him. They priced their artwork conservatively, essentially enough to cover the cost of the paint and canvas. The church goers were excited about their new artist, wondering why they hadn’t seen her name around before. As she only had one piece up, there was three people eager to buy it and causing a commotion within the church hall. It ended up having a mini auction between the three parties, eventually selling for twice the listed price. The single mum was stoked and couldn’t wait to tell her new neighbour friend.
Meanwhile, the Hungarian displayed eight pieces at the market to match his co-stall owner. He too had immediate interest, as the locals had seen his co-stall owner’s work many times over the months and were excited about seeing something new. Within two hours of opening, he had sold three pieces. At the start of the day, he thought he’d be taking eight pieces home with him. He wanted to thank his neighbour for the encouragement and they celebrated that night toasting their new successes.
So I guess the moral of the story is, don’t take anyone for granted. You have no idea why someone enters your life or leaves your life. Understand that everything happens for a reason, good or bad, and if you can see the good in people, then good things will happen for you. Those who have had animosity towards you will soon remove it or leave you alone, and those who enjoy your company will embrace you with love and friendship. Don’t analyse it, accept it. Be more accepting of yourself and what you give to people. No matter how big or small your impact is on someone’s life, it’s an impact, you’ve touched someone, and you will be remembered.