Sometimes we don’t recognize how valuable people are in our lives until they’re not there anymore.
We’ve all had that moment where we wanted to share a special memory with a grandparent who is no longer here, or we reach out to an elementary school teacher only to have the mail returned to sender, or a co-worker moves along and we realize how much he was doing that perhaps we were taking for granted.
I realized about a decade after the fact that when my best friend asked me to be the maid of honor in her wedding, I never even threw her a shower. My mother did, because mothers know everything, but come on, what was I thinking?
I think that we learn from experience, and when someone takes the time to say a kind word we’re reminded of how far that gesture goes. They’re on to something with that whole “pay it forward” thing. I saw a family in a bakery/restaurant the other day while I was waiting on my to-go order. They were clearly a blended family, maybe with adopted children, of mixed races and ages. There were six children. I asked the guy at the counter if I could buy a pie for the family that they could wrap up and take home with them. He thought it was a cool idea and offered to split the cost with me. That’s how you do it, y’all.
I delivered a basket of non-perishable items to the food bank last week. There are still hundreds of people rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and a bag of spaghetti noodles and canned fruits and vegetables costs very little. Like, you can buy 100 items for like $60. Anyway, I have done this before and the food bank manager typically writes me a receipt and sends me on my way. This time was different.
“Move your butt,” she said. “The rice goes in that blue crate. The beans go in the black crate. Why are you just standing there?”
As I, well, moved my butt, I realized that’s how I live life. I do my good deed and then I wait to be patted on the back and thanked and awarded. I’ll write the check, but you won’t find me rolling up my sleeves and volunteering sweat equity.
That has to change.
We have to move our butts.
You lose absolutely nothing by telling someone they did a good job. It doesn’t steal your soul if your friend gets married first or publishes a novel or has a baby. It’s not a competition. We have to support one another.
We have to say please and thank you. We have to encourage those who feel like they have failed. We have to visit our friends when they’re in the hospital. We have to call Grandma. We are all people in this human race. When is there ever a good reason to hope for someone else to fail?
The answer is clear: There’s not one.
Move your butt.
April Towery is the managing editor of The Sealy News. She can be reached at 979-885-3562 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.