Simple gesture. Lasting impact.

We sometimes think we just don’t matter to anyone. There are days when we feel low, despite the family and friends surrounding us. We feel misunderstood. We contemplate our existence – work, relationships, roads not taken and painting a picture with grass that may be greener (which is rarely the case!). We get caught up in this woe-is-me mentality that is most often short-lived.

Well let me tell you – we matter! We may not even realize that we have become a part of someone’s life. That there is a stranger out there who depends on us. Someone who looks forward to knowing that we are there – and wanting us to be there.

When the temperature is not hovering at the equivalent of a day in humid hell, I take my dog for a brief walk. I think she likes it – although she hasn’t actually said so – and it gets me away from the computer, as well as work, to stretch an aching body. Since performing my job at home full-time, it is much too easy to fall into a work, sleep, work routine with no sense of time at all. It actually feels as if I’ve been having the same day since March 16, 2020.

My dog has given me the opportunity to interact with so many friendly people in my community who I may never have known existed. The gentleman who resides in the complex next door sits outside on his porch almost every day and has become a part of our routine. We look forward to his warm, welcoming, friendly wave and we miss him when he is not there.

We hadn’t walked in days because of the temps and the pup not having done so well – like her human – in the heat. Today was cool enough to get out and I forced myself to step away from the computer for a restorative walk. Our gentleman friend was up from his usual perch and walking, giving us the chance to say hello. Friendly as ever, exuding the demeanor of a man who never sees the thorns on a rose and finds reasons to be grateful each morning, he lifted our spirits with a simple, “Good to see you! Have a great afternoon!”

So if you ever feel like you don’t matter – you do. And you may be making the difference in the life of a practical stranger just by saying hello, sharing your warmth and joy. That gentleman has become a part of our world, and he doesn’t even know it. Funny how the minute social interactions and the happy lift found in certain anticipated consistencies can mean so much. Always remember that you may be that person putting a smile on someone’s face each day. And you may never know it.

Author: E.M. Murphy

A freelance writer, coach, eternal seeker and Renaissance soul who aims to open minds and hearts. Armed with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a NASM Certified Behavior Change Specialist, humanity and humor is at the heart of my writing, reminding us that the key to success will always start with a genuine concern for others while making sure to be true to our authentic selves.

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