Consideration – Be Good

Today I helped a woman at the gas station pump her gas.

While I was cleaning a layer of dirt and dried sprinkler water from my windows, she approached with broken English and a look of concern. This woman was easily past 60, dark eyebrows and hair, wrinkles everywhere. She was walking towards an older beige car, could have been a Honda but I didn’t pay that much attention.

She waved at me, then pointed to her car. As she kept walking, she said, “‘Excuse me, you help?” She was pointing at the gas pump, then to her hand. “I broke my fingers.”

She wasn’t wearing a cast and seemed intent on just getting to the pump, so I wasn’t sure what she was asking or why, and I hesitated. I don’t know why, but for a moment I was going to ignore her.

But instead I walked over, started her pump and when it was finished I put it back and closed up her fuel tank. She said not a word during the process. When I was done and already walking back to my car, the woman spoke again. She said thank you, bless you, and drove out of the station, and I drove out a different direction, and the event was completed without any more spoken.

As I drove off, I thought about what went down, and felt good. Someone asked for a bit of help, a small gesture, and it went a long way. Her thank you was genuine, and though the deed was little in my eyes, it helped her get through her gas station experience.

Small gestures go a long way.

A year ago, I’d venture to say that perhaps she was lying, perhaps her hand wasn’t really broken and she just didn’t want to touch the pump, afraid of germs or something. But that was then. I’m trying to stay a little more optimistic these days, and her eyes told me that her thanks was genuine, and really, what was it hurting to help someone who was asking for it?

Offer up a hand today. Receiving help and gestures of good deeds is great, but doling them out feels better. Be considerate.

Be good.

 

 

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Selfish Musings 1: Ends

I’m going to make this a selfish post to reflect, in the hopes that I can pull away some positive vibes and spread them to you as well.

First let’s talk about endings. Then we’ll move to transitions, and finally beginnings.

Part 1: ENDS

Job, relationship, and life. Those are three major elements which have ended fairly recently for me or for people around me.

Jobs come and go in the entertainment industry, so there wasn’t much surprise when one ends and another begins, and the cycle occurred again. I’m currently on a job in NYC, trying to soak in as much of the city as I can while working with some great new people in a cold new place.

The relationship is another matter entirely.

I don’t want to enter details of the relationship aspect, mainly because it’s nobody’s business but for she and I. She will be alright, and I will be, too.

One could not see the end of the relationship as it approached, nor could one assume exactly how it would “go down”. These things happen throughout life, no matter how dedicated you think you might be to another person, there are going to be aspects that grow and change your feelings, or emotions that ebb and flow until the tides dry up. It’s just the way it happens from time to time, and this was one of those times. The only thing I know I need to do better in the future is communicate, communicate, communicate.

So there was sadness. So there shall be happiness again.

So it goes.

And then there was the end of a life, or a few lives, for people I know. One friend had a grandparent pass away, and one very good friend saw his father pass away quite unexpectedly.

This friend is a good man, one of the better men I’ve ever met, and I don’t think I felt anything but sadness when I heard the news. I’d met the father once, and it was enough to see the effect the man had had on not only his family’s life, but the lives of hundreds of people over thousands of miles. His passing was sudden and quick, and effected many people.

I attended the funeral, which was a two-hour ride outside of Los Angeles proper. The day was warm under a bright sun and blue sky, and the grass couldn’t be more green. The roads were lined with cars, friends and families parked to observe this moment, this celebration of a life no longer with us, yet still among us. The occasion, while sad, was nevertheless filled with smiles and bitter happiness.

I shook hands with my friend, and reassured him he would be ready for whatever might come next, and I hope to be able to be there for him as needed.

When someone you know and admire and respect is saddened, feeling terrible and alone, the only thing you can do is offer help, a hand, a smile. This is all I could do in that moment, but in moments since that day I’ve thought of that same sentiment for other friends, friends not effected by death but by other sadness, losses, or the realization of mistakes. Regret. I have a couple of friends who made mistakes. They asked advice, I gave them my two cents and then later…they did exactly the opposite.

I don’t fault them. They make the choices, not me. I’m often making silly decisions of my own and not fully realizing that, hey, my friends were right giving their advice. But we talk it through, because that’s what friends do. And when my buddies made their mistake, and regretted decisions, and came to me for help in the aftermath, I stood up and was there. Because their friendship is more important to me then whether or not they heeded my advice.

I will be there, again and again, until we get it right. And I hope they will be, too.

The afternoon of the funeral, I thought of sad things, reflected on meaning and purpose, as I suppose we all do when faced with death. What is it all for? Can I live up to the life that this great man apparently lived? I thought of my own grandfather’s funeral and the amount of people who had come to see him off to the next world, the amount of people who could recall a story each their own which only further showed the breadth of his reach, his smiles and jokes, the laughter he caused in hundreds if not thousands of people. They celebrated the good times only.

I thought of my own father, and mother, and how I simply cannot imagine a life without them, their support, their honesty, and their willingness to give me advice and then be there to support me if my decisions still lead to sadness.

I hope to live up to the kind of life that brings joy and laughter to a great many people but also to appreciate what I have in front of me while not discarding all possibilities. I don’t mean that I want to tell jokes and be a clown. That’s a different kind of joy and laughter, best left to Jim Carrey, or Louis C.K., or Johnny Carson. I mean the kind of joy where you can lead someone to feel good about themselves whenever you’re around.

Because that’s just about all we need right now, is a little more joy.

And curiosity…there’s that, too (more about that in part 2: Transitions).