Strolling Through Adjacent Lives

lighted trees

by Noella Noelophile™

When you meet her on the street, she’s always smiling.  She’s out for a brisk walk,  never fails to comment that “it’s a beautiful day!”, and gives the impression of having enjoyed every moment of her eighty-plus years.

Just seeing her is enough to make you smile…and you  hope she’ll continue on in her vigorous, sunny way until she’s at least a hundred.

Her name?  Her history?   Despite seeing her often, I don’t know them–and probably never will.   But what a life-brightener she is.

We’ve all had people who changed our lives radically.   There were teachers who made us think differently about our abilities; supervisors or associates who challenged us, for good or otherwise; role models who lived a different perspective.

But…what about the people who have an almost-accidental effect on our lives?

One morning in Southern California’s mid-Wilshire area, we were having a torrential rain.  Commuters were climbing the stairs from the subway, fumbling with umbrellas and hunching their shoulders against the unaccustomed bad weather.    It was chilly, gray, dripping…and one man, in the midst of all of us, suddenly belted out the first line of the 1960’s song, “It’s a Beautiful Morning.”

Smiles and laughter ensued…and suddenly, a little rain didn’t matter.

Like it or not, everyone affects everyone else around them, all the time–for good or evil.   A stranger’s thoughtless comment on the street can devastate a shy adolescent.    A co-worker’s encouragement…or skepticism, in the break room, can determine whether someone decides his or her dreams are too risky to pursue.  A favorite clerk’s story of a great vacation may get a customer thinking, “That’s where I want to go, next summer!”

And an author or artist you’ve never met, and may never meet, can speak to you as if you’re old friends.

What are the ways in which others’ “everyday” actions have had an effect on you?   And in what (possibly-accidental) ways do you make a difference to others in your day-to-day life?

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