Sometimes, a person we barely know can make an enormous difference in our lives.
For me, it’s the postman — but not for the reason most of you might imagine.
I started working at home last June, when my law partner retired and I transitioned to splitting my schedule between practicing law and writing.
At first, I didn’t like working from home. Twenty-year habits die hard, and I was used to getting up and “going to work” in an office building. Gaining traction in the new environment proved more difficult than I imagined.
One of the brightest parts of my day was (and remains) the postman–but not because of the mail.
My office sits at the front of the house. A walkway runs in front of the window, behind the garden, and through a hole in the hedge that separates my yard from the neighbor’s. The postman uses the path to go from my house to the next, and every morning he says hello and waves to me through the window as he passes.
It’s one of the high points of my day, and I miss it when he’s on vacation or has a substitute.
For the past twelve months, we’ve said hello without any formal introductions. I’ve often considered saying more, but it doesn’t take long to pass a window, and he’s never stopped to chat.
This morning, however, the postman delivered a box containing extra copies of CLAWS OF THE CAT that I needed for giveaways, and to replenish my personal stock. He waved and pointed to the box as he came up the walk, knowing that I could see him from the window. I met him at the door, said a longer hello, and finally explained what I do for a living.
He was more than a little surprised.
When I learned that he likes to read, I gave him a copy of CLAWS–and I hope he likes it. I always hope that people enjoy it, but in this case, that hope has a special edge. His cheerful greetings mean a lot to me, and it would be really nice to give him a smile in return.
I’ve learned an important lesson from the postman this past year. It doesn’t take much to make a stranger’s day. A smile and a pleasant word or two can turn a person’s day around completely.
You never know whose life you might touch, or improve, by simple kindnesses. I know I’ll keep it in mind, and try to pay it forward when I can.
Has a stranger ever impacted your life, or given you an unexpected joy? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.