Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Thank You to the Motown Man

I think I'm almost over the motion sickness caused by my out of control font changes yesterday. It seems the site rebels against cut and paste. I asked it politely to arrange itself all in Georgia, but it laughed at me, and then just to spite me it made every paragraph a different font. If I need to reimburse you for the Dramamine, let me know.

Today I'm thinking about the other part of the Motown Man's message, which is, if you want to be happy then do something good for someone everyday. For a man who, if the stories are true, wanders the streets with a shopping cart and a glittery vest, he knows what he's talking about.

A few years ago I submitted a story to the publisher of the Random Acts of Kindness series, which they included in the second book. You probably saw them in the bookstores then, and they still sell them today. The books are a collection of things people did or experienced that were unexpected, unselfish, and made a difference in someone's life.

My story was about my first semester in college. At seventeen I packed up all my belongings, got on a plane, and flew a thousand miles away to a campus I'd never seen before, in a town where I knew no one. Because this was back before time began, and email and text messages did not yet exist, college students depended on mail from home to stave off homesickness.
I didn't get a lot of mail, and the first couple of months were pretty lonely.

Then one day I got a postcard, addressed to me, from a mystery person, telling me all about the crazy antics of my uncle (who rode his horse into Safeway again?!), and other wacky relatives. None of whom were actually people I knew. I thought it was a mistake. Yet my name was right there on the card.

I had a mystery to think about.

Soon another postcard came in the mail, full of more wild adventures of misbehaving relatives. Then another.
I looked forward to checking my mail box every morning, wondering if another installment would be there. Over the course of my freshman year I received about ten postcards, none of which had a return address. And without realizing it, I had forgotten my homesickness.

It wasn't until I went home for the summer that I discovered (and she admitted it reluctantly) that the mother of an acquaintance had worried about me being so far from home, and wanted me to have mail. Since we didn't really know each other, she made stuff up.

It's been a long time since this happened, but every time I think about it, I still feel good.
I'm constantly amazed at the impact we have on each other, very often without realizing it.

Motown Man challenges me to remember this today. It doesn't have to be flashy, or expensive, or acknowledged. Probably it shouldn't be any of those things. But there is something easily within my power to do for someone today that will change us both for the better. I'm keeping my eyes open.

5 comments:

HumorSmith said...

Awwwww. Let me guess..you didn't have any caffeine today.

Mary Moss said...

What a great reminder about how to live every day:-)

Vic said...

Humorsmith,
Just didn't want to miss the most important part of the guy's message to the world...:)

Mary,
Thanks! It's easy to get caught up in ourselves sometimes - I have to speak sternly to myself sometimes. :)

Heather, Queen of Shake Shake said...

Does ironing my sons' shirts count as doing something?

Probably not.

Vic said...

You iron?? Where do I send in your recommendation for sainthood? I tell my son to shake out the dog hair and be on his way. I'm coming to your house with a big bag. :)