Yesterday while driving around Idaho Falls, I found myself struck by all the people around me – other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists – and thinking about how every one of those people has a story to tell. Their lives all have a past, a history that has brought them to that moment in their life. I began thinking about how each one of those souls has been through ups and downs – good times and bad – happy moments and sad ones. I then started thinking how everyone likes to tell their story, wants to be heard, validated and to know that they matter.
It really is a simple thing to listen to people and hear their story and give them, however brief it might be, some kind of confirmation that their story has been heard and understood by another human being. It’s such a simple matter to look the Wal-Mart greeter in the eye and ask him “How’s it going,” and then stop for a moment and really listen to his answer. When he replies – “I couldn’t be better – I have a brand new grandson,” you might go a step further and ask if he has a picture, which he invariably will – and then you truly look at the picture and maybe comment on how you’re certain you see a little grandpa in that tiny face! Watch how he lights up – no more than a couple of minutes spent, and someone has been told, by your two tiny minutes time, that they matter.
When you go through the check out line at the grocery store – for heaven’s sake – put away your smart phone and ask the checker how her day is going. When she tells you “I’ve been better – just got some bad news that my husband has been laid off and I don’t know what we’re going to do,” genuinely look her in the eye and tell her something like, “I’m so sorry – that really stinks. I’ll send good thoughts your way, (or I’ll pray for you) whatever your inclination happens to be – or maybe you ask what her husband does and tell her you’ll keep an eye out for jobs, and HONESTLY mean it! You might not have fixed the situation, but you’ve heard her story and you’ve made a commitment to do what you can to help. You never know how those effortless words of comfort might help get her through her day.
Don’t be so plugged into your social media that you unplug from real life. Small acts of kindness and encouragement can change someone’s life. Hearing a stranger’s story and listening more than you talk and giving more than you take can alter the future in ways that you may never know. Listen to somebody’s story today. Keep Shining. Peace Out!
I made this potato salad several days ago and it was FABULOUS. It wasn’t my husband’s favorite because he doesn’t really like vinegary salads. Next time I might cut down on the vinegar and add more olive oil. Adjust it to your taste and enjoy!
Summer Spud Salad
2 T white wine vinegar
½ t salt
1 T fresh thyme leaves
1/3 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-1/2 pounds small potatoes cut into bite size pieces
½ C sliced green onions
2/3 C sliced Kalamata olives (pitted)
3 T sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/3 C flat leaf parsley
1 Can garbanzo beans
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
½ t crushed red pepper
Mix vinegar, ½ t salt and thyme and whisk in olive oil; set aside. Put potatoes in boiling water and cook until just fork tender, about 10 minutes. Fold vinaigrette into warm potatoes.
Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Chill salad in refrigerator, tightly covered, for one to two hours. Serve in bowls and garnish with fresh thyme sprig. Also very good with a dash of Sriracha on top!