There's a nice park near my apartment that I go to sometimes to run or walk. It has a bunch of looping trails through some woods and smells fresh and clean in the midst of a pretty suburban area. I went there after work one day, after finding the church I usually go in to pray was occupied by some musicians practicing.

I was walking along and there was an older man who smiled at me, and I gave a forced smile back. A little while later, as I was ending my walk, there was the man again. He smiled and said hello, and I gave a little smile back. He looked at me and said "You almost smiled, there!" and I gave him an actual smile, one using my teeth and everything.

I didn't find this annoying or patronizing or something like that. Mostly, I just found it sweet. This older guy just wanted to see me smile, and his reaching out and saying something was an unselfish gesture, that I, with my headphones in as I walked with my head down, would have probably never done. It was an action out of genuine desire to see someone else happy.


During my class, the lady I usually sit next to left unexpectedly after the break. We don't talk very much, as her voice has a tremor and I am pretty self-absorbed 90% of the time. The lady who sits across the aisle from us looked at me when I came back in from the break and asked if I knew where she had gone. I said I didn't, because I didn't, but the lady across the aisle expressed her concern, hoping she was OK and wondering if everything was OK.

And since I am, like I said, pretty self-absorbed most of the time, I enjoyed the extra space I had at my table.


I guess I could weave some words about how my generation is self-absorbed, or make excuses for the reasons that I am self-absorbed or something like that. But at the end of the day, no general statement will really encompass what every different person experiences, because I've met plenty of selfless young adult and very selfish adults and older people. And no excuse I can give you for my choosing to be selfish will really matter.

All I really need to do, is wake up and say "Hey, today I am going to serve, and reach out, and be kind." And do it.


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