Sunday, December 5, 2010

Paying The Price

The large expenditures are the small ones that take place most frequently.

How much would you do to save your life? The fact is our lives are ransomed in bits and pieces. There are people and times when one great heroic act has changed someone's life, but it is not those events that pay for living. The balance of the account is a slow and particular process. I's made up of moments, small, mostly unrecognized moments, relatively unimportant moments with seemingly no price tag on them.

"Sir! You dropped your gloves!" The subway train came to a stop and the door opened. When the man got up to leave the train he accidentally dropped his gloves on the floor and didn't notice it. They were a very nice looking pair of brand new gloves. I think there were a couple of guys ready to pounce on them as soon as the man left the train. But I shouted and pointed at the gloves. He thanked me, picked them up and made it off the train before the door closed. There was a flash of good will between two men who will never see each other again. I felt good, but what I didn't realize was that I had just made a small deposit in my life's account.

One of my favorite cartoons, which I remember from many years ago, was of a wide open space and in it, spread around, were scores of Roman soldiers, gladiators, men in togas, women in gowns, slave girls, and prisoners in chains. It was obviously ancient Rome, or looked like it. Only everyone was bent over staring at the ground.

It was very strange and unexplainable until you read a voice coming from the side which said "People, can we shoot the scene first and look for the contact lens later?"

At the local supermarket one day, the cashier accidentally popped a contact lens out of her eye. She ws very concerned because she couldn't find it. A couple of us bent over and looked for it. I was reminded of the cartoon. But I saw it. It had landed not on the floor, but on small ledge at the end of the checkout counter. I pointed at it and said "Is that it?" It was and she was very grateful.

About 7 years later I was in the same market with a shopping list. I could read all the items on the list, even with my glyphic handwriting, except for the first one. It began with a "b" but beyond that it was a mystery.

I stepped over to a woman who was stocking shelves and asked her if she could read what it said. She stopped what she was doing, put on her glasses and tried. "Baking soda?" "No." "Baby food?" "No" I said with a chuckle. "Bananas?" "No." I had bananas in the cart, they were further down on the list. "Brussels sprouts?" "No." She apologized that she couldn't tell.

I decided to forget it and took the list with me back to the check out. The cashier was the same woman whose contact lens I had once found. I'm sure she didn't remember me or the event. But as I was putting my purchases on the counter she saw me looking at my list and asked "Did you get everything?" I said I did but that I couldn't read the first item on my list.
"Let me see." She took the list and in two seconds handed it back and said "batteries." Of course, that was it.

Then she said. "They're right around here on the other side. I'll wait." I slid around picked up the batteries and she added them to the cost. I thanked her again and she gave me the traditional "Have a nice day."

Both of those women, even the one who couldn't but tried, had just paid a shekel or two into their life's balance.

This expenditure of heart doesn't stop with good deeds. What we think of people, when we think of them, mattes. Are our thoughts of them good ones or not. Every positive image we have of someone else has its quantum effect no matter how subtle and unrecognizable. To hold in mind a beneficial picture of someone else is dropping coins into their bank account and ours.

And finally, to damn up the flow of negativity, to deny bad and affirm good, to deny failure and affirm success, to deny wrong and affirm right, to deny sorrow and affirm joy, to deny error and affirm truth, to deny pain and affirm pleasure, to deny weakness and affirm strength, to deny cruelty and affirm compassion, to deny evil its very obligation and permission to exist and to persist in doing that is the price for a genuinely redeemed life.

DB - The Vagabond
Weekend Puzzle

Okay weekend puzzlers. I'm back.

Identify the following.

1. In black face.

2. With pips.

3. Three with jazz.

4. Still with no band.

5. With blue eyes.

6. With a megaphone.

Good luck.


Valerie said...

Beautiful post, Dana. I live my life with this concept in mind, definitely. If everyone would understand this, the world would be a much better place. Hugs to you, my friend. xox

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I loved reading your post today, it reminded me of what I'm so often saying and not always doing...attitude is everything and we all would be so much better if we looked on the bright side of things.

Liz said...

I went to Israel over 30 years ago and the one event that has staid in my mind as vivid as the day it occurred was when a small child ran up to a tourist from my boat and handed her a cigarette packet saying in perfect English that was understood by the American, ‘You dropped this madam,’ That she had the right to drop the empty packet on the pavement of this country had never even entered her mind. She acted, as she always did in her own country like a litterlout.

I have taken this incident into my philosophy.
We may act as litterlouts in other countries, as we attempt to spread our own standards of behaviour that may seem to the people that live there totally unacceptable.

Before we attempt to teach others we should ask ourselves what do we need to learn from them?

Arlene (AJ) said...

Another great post. Thought it was interesting as I was at one of our drug stores and the woman in front of me was checking out her big order and I realized I had a coupon for $4.00 off if you spent $25.00 which I wasn't today, so offered her my $4.00 off coupon, she was so touched and gave me a hug for my kindness. Her kindness made my day also. Take care your way DB.