The smallest of actions can lead to powerful reactions. I’m convinced that no matter what we do in life, no matter how seemingly inconsequential to us, can affect others in magnificent ways.
I like to think of it as similar to the “Butterfly Effect,” the precept being that should someone travel back in time and make one small change to what has already happened, i.e., stepping on a butterfly, the effects would be like that of tossing a stone into still waters — where the ripple created by the contact radiates from ground zero and grows larger as it travels.
I write this because such a situation arose today. When I get out of bed in the morning, I know what the weather will be for the coming day (as much as one can know such a thing in New England), and dress accordingly.
I wanted to go to the market and pick up a few things. I threw on a pair of shorts and selected a T-shirt, no easy fete for me when I have choices of rock bands, Boston sports teams, etc. I selected one, but saw another and yanked that out of the bureau drawer.
The T was a “Fender” shirt, with the well-known label and classic “F” of Fender guitars and strings splashed across the chest.
Pleased with my attire, I headed to market and did my usual hit-and-run shop, getting in and out as quickly as possible. Shopping is not one of my favorite past times.
I saw a cashier with no one at his station and headed there, but before him was a woman who, also, was without customer. I had often had delightful chats with the woman, about my age — often about the amount of celery bunches or greens I purchase. That’s all because of Denise, who is more health conscious than I.
This day I grabbed a bunch of dandelion greens that my spouse had long wanted to try.
The cashier and I chatted about the greens and she asked, “Is that a Fender guitar shirt?” “Yes,” I replied. “I play guitar and my Fender is the favorite of my three babies.”
She told me it reminded her of her son — who had passed away. He, too played guitar. “He was my best friend,” she said becoming a tad choked up. “I think of him every day and miss him.”
I told her that I, too, had lost a son, but at a very tender age. I said I can’t even imagine losing someone you lived with for so long yet who died so young.
She expressed her condolences for my loss. And then I looked her square in her mournful eyes while pointing at the Fender on my T, and said, “He’s saying ‘Hi mom.’” I meant it and I felt it.
She said, “I know he is. Thank you.” I firmly believe that our loved ones who have gone before we do make their presence known every now and again. I’ve felt it with my dad, mom, my son, and my pup Igor.
Again, she said, “I miss him so much.” I made the transaction and then reiterated, “He’s saying, ‘Hi mom. Everything is good.’”
She looked at me and mouthed the words, “Thank you,” being too filled with a bittersweet joy to express out loud. We both smiled and parted ways.
I know deep in my heart that I was the conduit for what that woman needed this day. I know that God sends little reminders to us poor creatures on earth to remind us all is not lost with a loss.
The simple act of selecting a T-shirt made someone else’s day. It boggles my mind.
There’s no way to know what will happen, so there’s no way to act any other way than what’s usual for us. God takes care of the rest.
There are simple actions in life that do lead to powerful reactions. God’s love and mystery at its best.