This Little Light

“No matter who you are, or where you are, or how mundane or tough your situation may seem, I believe you can illuminate your world. In fact I believe this is the only way the world will ever be illuminated – one bright act of grace at a time, all the way to the river.” Elizabeth Gilbert, O Magazine, May 2016.

My neighbor is so very generous.  Not only does she have me over to sip a cocktail and enjoy the most delicious cheese known to man, she also shares all of her many magazines with me. She is a wise woman that is now retired but does not let her mind rest. She was one of the first women to graduate from the University of Texas Business School and she then entered into the finance world when there were few to no women to be found. Her theory on making it in a man’s world was to read every kind of magazine ever printed. She reads all sports magazines, for that is a language that can break into a man’s world. She reads People and Oprah because that can connect you with younger generations. She reads The New Yorker and National Geographic because goodness knows that opens the door to even more interesting conversations. So these magazines land in her mailbox and then when she is finished she places them on her front porch bench for us to enjoy. She fell and hurt her back one year so I started taking her newspapers from her driveway to the front porch bench so she could safely grab it in the morning. And now that is something my husband or I do faithfully. So some mornings when we place the papers on the bench we get to gather a pile of these wonderful magazines. And yes, she still gets multiple papers and reads them as well.

So this week the Oprah magazine caught my eye and the words that I shared from Elizabeth Gilbert have been warming my heart all week. The article starts describing a cold rainy day in New York City.  Elizabeth is riding a bus. People are cranky, wet and tired. She shares that as the bus filled the bus driver got on the intercom and said, “Folks, I know you’ve had a rough day and your’re frustrated. I can’t do anything about the weather or traffic, but here’s what I can do. As each one of you gets off the bus, I will reach out my hand to you. As you walk by, drop your troubles into the palm of my hand, okay? Don’t take your problems home to your families tonight – just leave’em with me. My route goes right by the Hudson River and when I drive by there later, I’ll open the window and throw your troubles in the water. Sound good?”

The article goes on to explain what happened on that bus after his words landed on everyone. It transformed the energy. People were given permission to let go of their pain. He offered a hand to reach out and love strangers. Crabby, grumpy, rude people. His words touched hearts and his hand reached across all boundaries.

How simple is that? If you have the time today, offer to hold someone’s hand. Reach out and let them put their troubles in your hand and then release it out of the window. Maybe it sounds silly. But, so does walking around in pain all day. Let today be filled with light. Find someone to share your heart with and you will both walk away feeling better.

Or at least share your magazines with a neighbor...it might be the one article that changes everything. Thank you Barbara for being my neighbor!

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