Gary’s Gems – The Let Us Not be like November Issue
Is there anything redeemable about November? I always try to be positive but November challenges me. It’s an endless thirty days between October’s colours and December’s tinsel.
This is our second “COVID” November. Nothing to do except to adapt and find light and inspiration where we can. Some people naturally come together to help others to lift their spirits. Others prefer to join packs of conspiracy wolves and howl at the moon of injustice. Being part of the former, I look forward to the 2021 spirit season knowing it will rally the best in us.
Lord knows throughout the year there’s plenty of reasons to lose one’s faith in humanity. When that happens, we need to reconnect with ourselves and our immediate community. The 24/7 news cycle, not to mention social media, is overwhelming. Small acts of kindness that happen every day around us get lost in the crisis-of-the-day news. Sometimes I need to turn off the digital channels and listen instead to real people.
For instance, I meet with my friend and i24’s Director of Digital Reality, Ray Hiltz, early every workday morning over ZOOM. We talk about upcoming work projects as well as about what’s going on in our lives. Sometimes these conversations inspire “Gems” topics. Other times, they are very inexpensive therapy sessions.
Empathy came up as a subject last week. We questioned whether the pandemic and the human disconnect is making people care more or less about others.
He shared a story with me about his running into a homeless youth on his way to the gym very early in the morning. The person sleeping on the sidewalk next to a church. Ray told me that he was about to pass by, but then remembered he had some cash on him which is usually rare. He turned back and nudging the person, handed him a twenty and returned to his walk. A couple of steps ahead, he heard footsteps behind him and the light touch of a hand on his elbow.
It was the young man who, jumped up from his “bed” and raced to catch up. Ray turned to him and told him to get a coffee and a good meal. He replied in very broken English, “yes, coffee” then pointed to his shoes, “Adidas”. Now Ray has led a VERY long life and is worldly. It was clear Ray thought that the kid was willing to join him for coffee and negotiate a pair of Adidas. It’s the law of the streets for homeless youth. Ray made it clear there were no strings attached and wished him a good day again. The kid stopped. For the first time, he looked Ray in the eyes, put his hand on his heart, and with his other hand, pointed to the sky. He smiled, turned and walked away.
How many times have we reached out to help someone with no strings attached? It takes very little to make a big difference in someone’s life. The respect we show by acknowledging someone may be enough to get them through their day. Money, of course, helps with immediate needs but respect and kindness are the gifts that keep on giving. An important thing to remember at any time but especially so as we get closer to December.
Here are a few small things you can do that will make a big difference in someone’s day.
Give a genuine or silly compliment to anyone and everyone.
Hold the door open for the person behind you.
Say, “Thank you. Have a nice day” to someone who holds the door for you.
Ask a senior citizen about their life story and truly listen.
Offer to pay another person’s food bill.
Donate to a homeless person, perhaps give them some food.
Leave a kind server a generous tip.
Give away stuff for free online or to a local needy family.
Volunteer at a community event.
Drop off cookies at a friends house
“…love’s in need of love today
Don’t delay, send yours in right away
Hate’s goin’ ’round, breakin’ many hearts
Stop it please, before it’s gone too far.”
– Stevie Wonder
Thank you for reading this 50th issue of the my monthly Gems.
This version of the Gems began in the spring of 2018 and replaced the monthly email list of quotes I sent my subscribers for years before. The move to making it a blog post was instigated by my marketing guru and friend, Ray Hiltz who has since collaborated with me on every issue.
It’s been a fabulous journey through my tickle trunk of favourite quotes and personal stories.
Thank you for your insightful, inspirational and humorous feedback.
If you know someone who may enjoy these, please share.
And here are this month’s gems.