Yesterday, someone asked me how my day was. I took a few seconds and then told them, "Pretty good, got a lot done. Yep, it was a pretty good day." He looked at me and said, "You really thought about that."
Well, yeah, of course. Why not? That got me to thinking . . .
So many people in this world answer with a no-nothing statement when asked how their day is. "Fine, how about you?" or "Good, you?" etc. Why don't people actually take a moment and think about it, and then answer accordingly? This same person has asked me hundreds of times how my day was and not once have I answered him the same way. Why? Because each day is different, that's why.
But it hit me, he's never noticed that I always answer him sincerely about my day. To him, it's just something to say in passing. Small talk. Friendly banter. My words wash over him like the passing tide.
But it doesn't mean that to me. When someone asks how my day is, I make the assumption that they want to actually know and I try my best to answer exactly how it is. Because if you're not truly interested, you shouldn't ask. I never ask unless I want to know.
I sat down and thought about all this a little more and realized that this behavior of mine has been there all my life. Remember back to high school, when you were signing everybody's yearbooks? Well, not me. I handed my yearbook to people I knew well enough that I thought might actually write something more than those annoying "friend acronyms." You know what I'm talking about. BFF, FF, and so on. They were usually proceeded by an innocuous paragraph that said, "Hey, we had a grate time this year. See you over the summer!!!" Misspellings intact.
Whenever I signed someone's yearbook, I took my time and wrote something personal, something so unique that when they looked back on it twenty years later, they'd think, "Wow, I'd forgotten all about that." And my words would send them happily skipping down memory lane. Isn't much more fun to replay your memories when there's something personal to act as a catalyst? It takes you to a specific time and place and the memory pops up so vividly that if you concentrate enough, you can relive it entirely. Isn't that what it's all about? Isn't what photographs do for us? Why do we not treat our conversations and writing the same way?
Anytime I've written in a yearbook or a birthday card or a holiday card, I've always injected something personal, some little tidbit that means something special between that person and me. It's just always seemed like the right thing to do. If you're gonna send a personal note, then by God, send a personal note! I think I got this from my Mom. Every card I've ever received from her (even today), has always included something special she's written. And it was specific, never a general saying, something referring to a happening in my life at that moment.
Wouldn't the world be a much better place if everyone did this? Can you imagine the interconnecting relationships and the value of friendships and acquaintances that would result? If everyone actually cared about everyone else, can you even fathom the consequences?
It all starts with something small. The next time you send someone a card, whether it be a sympathy or birthday or holiday card, take an extra minute to write a personal note. A real personal note. One that will affect the receiver. One that will make a true difference in their day. One that will change their world for the better.