The fabric of our lives is woven by many people. Whether family, friends or strangers, all leave their footprints on our hearts, our souls and in our thoughts. For the most part, we never realize, nor do they, the impact a word, a gesture or even a well-placed kick in the butt will have.
I was reminded of this by a good friend. Nancy and I met eight years ago when she started dating Stew. Stew, a business associate and friend for over thirty years is unique, intelligent and, at that time, on the lookout for ‘that special person’. He found her in Nancy. Equally intelligent and unique, she brought to their relationship balance, a beautiful spirit, sanity and an array of talents to include being a gourmet chef, a businesswoman, and an artist. At dinner, she told us a story that, for me, was awesome and an example of her ‘specialness’.
While riding a train to New York to visit art museums, Nancy and her artist friends noticed the conductor. A tall gentleman, with a warm smile, full head of dark head and a beard. He so resembled the postmaster painting by van Gogh that Nancy asked to take a picture with him. He chuckled at both taking a picture together and the idea of him resembling a van Gogh painting.
Later that evening, when showing Stew the picture, Nancy relived the brief encounter and thought I’ll paint his portrait! And that’s just what she did. After it was completed, the next step would be to give it to him. But how? She knew two things – his first name, Brian, from the badge he wore, and the train schedule from Philly to NY, at least for the day and time she took it. The detective kicked in. After many calls, explaining why she was trying to connect with a conductor named Brian, and that she wasn’t a stalker, she found an employee who knew both the conductor and his schedule. As fate would have it, his train would be at 30th Street Station within the next hour. Off she went, picture in hand, to meet the train and hoping she’d be able to find him. You see, the platform at 30th Street Station is a block long and the train stops for only two minutes to board and un-board passengers. The stars must have been aligned because Brian stepped off the train right where Nancy was standing. She gave him the portrait, took another photo and off he went. Nancy did something special and unexpected for a complete stranger. She has a wonderful memory and Brian has an original Gordon painting.
Opportunities to demonstrate our ‘specialness’ are all around us. Perhaps in this year, we should do something special, by our words or actions, for someone we know or a complete stranger. Who knows, maybe an ounce of ‘specialness’ will change the world.