It has been a very long week . . . the kind of week which seems like it will never end. Today, I was in dire need of some kindness, and I was fortunate to receive it from one of the finest gentlemen in all of Louisville.
Michael is an elderly gentleman, and the very thought of this dear, sweet person makes me smile big time. I don’t know much about Michael, but what I do know about him, I like rather a lot. Michael always, and I mean always, is quick to greet others enthusiastically and flash a huge grin at them, and he has a definite twinkle in his eyes. He loves to chat, so, we get along rather well, as I, too, possess the gift of gab. Michael is a real gem. He also happens to have a developmental disability and is one of the many guests at the day shelter for homeless men where I work.
My favorite interaction with Michael used to be when I asked him one morning how he was doing, and he chuckled and replied, “I have no idea what’s going on, but I am happy.” I say that it used to be my favorite interaction with him, because what happened this morning captured the coveted favorite spot and will be tough to top. It was one simple action that made a big difference to me.
As I stood just inside the doorway of my boss’ office, catching up with her and feeling the stress of the week weighing on me, out of the corner of my eye, I say Michael heading toward me. As usual, he was grinning ear to ear and walked like a man on a mission, and it turns out that he was indeed. When he was within a few feet of me, he stopped in his tracks, but continued to smile. I greeted him, and he said something that I could not quite hear, so, I apologetically asked him to repeat himself. I am glad that I did.
He looked at me and proclaimed, “I just wanted to tell you that I kind of like you”, and he smiled even bigger. There was something so very sweet and pure about this simple statement, and it truly melted my heart. I thanked him and told him that I liked him, too, and we both just stood there for a moment looking at each other and smiling. Michael then walked away, and he left me with a new memory to cherish.
Throughout the day, this exchange replayed in my mind more than once. I found myself thinking about what a kinder world it would be if we all let people know how we feel about them and to reassure them that they are liked and that they matter to at least one person. Sometimes, we are afraid to let someone know how we feel about them, or we assume that they already know, or should know, how we feel. Other times, it is just easier to say something negative to someone or about someone than it is to speak kindly. Words are powerful, especially when they are heartfelt and genuine like the words Michael spoke to me today. He didn’t say much, but he still spoke volumes.
Just one thing each day . . .