Intention, compassion, love

While commuting to work this morning, I passed a homeless man.  As I walked by, I made gentle eye contact and gave him a faint smile.  (As I have mentioned before, I try to smile at people I pass by on the street, and I do include the homeless in my efforts [though I am careful not to be too ‘open’ in my greeting {and potentially invite harassment as a result of just trying to be friendly}; nor do I give eye contact to individuals who are clearly mentally ill].)  The man I was passing returned my eye contact.  He then nodded in my direction, and in a low, gravely, quiet voice, said, “Hey, Happy Valentine Day.”

I was absolutely not expecting that response.  I was prepared to hear, “Hey, do you have a dollar?”, or “Hey, you lookin’ good baby!”, or “Hey, [insert insult here].”  So when I heard a sincere greeting of holiday friendliness, my lips reflexively broke into a very wide grin.  “You, too!” I replied, almost involuntarily.  Seeing my new demeanor, the homeless man returned my big smile with a full-grin of his own.  His eyes lit up, and in a louder and clearer voice, he offered, “Hey, you have a good day now.”  Again, my response was nearly reflexive: “You, too!” with a big grin.

I continued walking towards the office, but with more of a bounce in my step, my smile still lingering on my lips.  Four simple words, offered with a spirit of genuine kindness, made a big difference in my morning.  That man may not have many things to give to others, but he can certainly offer friendliness.  The fact that he did helped me more deeply appreciate the intention of Valentine’s Day.  I hope he – and all of you – had a very lovely holiday.


P.S.  And if you happened to not have the best holiday (this can be a tough one for folks, sometimes even more challenging than Thanksgiving or Christmas), below are pictures of childish valentine’s cards that I shared with a few colleagues.  As a young kid, I remember Valentine’s Day as a day when everyone was equal: Everyone in the class received the same number and types of cards, the same amount and style of candy or trinkets, the same innocent wishes of simple friendship and silly jokes.  Today, I’m choosing to channel the memories and spirit of that second-grade girl, and enjoy this holiday of love in the biggest, broadest sense of the word.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Stay cool.  😉


About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
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4 Responses to Intention, compassion, love

  1. rutheh says:

    A second grader brought a bag of candy into the art room this afternoon after the parties and valentine’s exchange. She said, “pick one,” I said, “oh thank you” and pulled out a wrapped bar. I said I’dtake that one cause it had my name in it. Do you know what my name is? ( as I held up the Baby Ruth for her to read) “BUTTERFINGER” she declared!

    What a happy Valentine’s Day you had. Enjoyed your story.


  2. Shira says:

    Great story! It’s amazing how the smallest of gestures between two people (any two people) can alter the course of one’s day (in this case – you!). Glad to hear! New follower – enjoying the reading! Cheers ~ Shira


    • Stef says:

      Shira, thank you for following my blog, and for commenting! I really appreciate it.

      Yes, it is pretty remarkable how seemingly ‘insignificant’ gestures can be significant indeed.


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