Sunday, May 23, 2010

Some thoughts for a Monday

Here's what I'm thinking about on a quiet mid-morning Monday in May.

-Consequential Strangers- a term given to those strangers with whom you inevitably interact each day, is defined and explored at this thought-provoking blog. I first came across the concept in this article on Sarah Wilson's blog (which I love and adore) and it's been bouncing around in my mind since. Just think about it, the number of these strangers who pass through our lives will always far outnumber those people with whom we have close relationships, and despite our seeming lack of connection to them, they play a highly important role in the operation of our daily lives. They might provide us with our food, pass us on a morning stroll with a friendly greeting or fill up our car with fuel, and each of these little actions helps us on our way, while we in turn give our custom or our own smile. More importantly than this surface interaction, though, is the connections we can make with such people, as we are much less bound in this relationship by pre-conceived notions or judgements on our characters, as our close friends and relatives have, and so can in some ways be more open and honest; more the person we would like to be. It is possible to have such fleeting but deep interactions with these people, and that is what makes them so special.

There is this guy who works as the lollipop man at the school the little girl I nanny for attends. He's young, probably my age or younger, and sets up his crossing every morning like clockwork, arriving at 7:55, slotting in the orange flags and pulling on his vest. He stands with his stop sign every day, rain, hail or shine, helping the kids get across the road safely. Today, my little girl laughed as we walked up the footpath after crossing. "Everday," she said, "everday it's exactly the same: 'Hi! Have a good day!' he says." She was amused at his unfaltering routine. I have noticed, too, that his greetings rarely change, and when I leave the school and walk back across he says the same thing. He is so dedicated to his job, to starting the kids' day off safely and happily, and he never fails to bring a smile to my face too as I drive away. He'll never know it, but in that small way, he's changing my, and I'd guess a lot of the other adults dropping kids off before beginning their work day's, life, and only for the better.

These consequential strangers are put into our lives for a reason. We're all connected, we all have the power to change the world, and it's a worthy pursuit to be mindful of appreciating the value of those we meet everyday in all sorts of places and situations. Afterall, the more connections you make, the wider your circle of wisdom and influences becomes, and this can only be a good thing.

This reminds me of two things. First a quote from Desiderata, which has been a favourite of mine ever since I read it on a poster tacked to the roof above my dentist's chair.

"As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story."

And also the wonderful Missed Connections blog, which everyone has been raving about for the past couple of months with good reason. This one is my recent favourite:(click image for the story)

BuzzChild xx

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