I like to go for breakfast at least once a week to my local coffee shop. There is something opulent about going out by yourself and eating a croissant and having a latte. Sitting in the comfy corner, I like to write, and just watch the people as they come and go. The lady that runs the shop is really friendly and greets everyone with a smile, most being regular customers she knows exactly what they want. I’m no exception, they know that I have soya instead of milk and I just order a latte, they haven’t yet got it wrong. It’s the little things that count in life. This morning the barista wasn’t a happy soul. He is suffering from singledom and he is wearing his loneliness on his sleeve, and his back and his hood, everywhere in fact. I do feel for him, I couldn’t imagine being single again, even though I spent eleven years on my own. What I can’t understand is why he stopped looking at what he has. I remembered a conversation that we once had. He had told me that in the scheme of things he played no part in the makeup of the Universe. I was astounded.
I see the Universe as a great big clock. Imagine all the cogs it takes to make up infinite time. No, too much to imagine? Then try this, picture the Universe, like the ones you see in the movies, all those clusters of stars that swirl in beautiful patterns, zoom in, that’s it, closer now, pick one, that one. That one is the Milky Way, go on take a closer look. Pick a star, oh look that’s our Sun, there are hundreds of Suns to pick from in this one Galaxy alone, in fact there are more than a hundred billion stars in The Milky Way alone. You got that tiny one, it’s ours, it feeds our planet and we are one of eight, or nine, not sure, some say they have found another planet, some say that Pluto isn’t a planet, let’s give them all the benefit of a doubt. We belong in this solar system. Get closer, that’s it, there are five continents, that’s the big land masses, we could count all the land masses and islands, of which it is said there are hundred thousand. Some of them have towns, cities even, most are uninhabited but there are those that humans have invaded and occupied over time, those that have grown into countries and those that have been abandoned. Let’s pick one. That one, I like that one, it is the largest of a group of several. There it sits on the edge of a continent. I’m zooming in again, down a bit, left a bit, up a bit, just there. That huge great city, just to the North West, there are a couple to pick from, but I pick that one. Keep going, get closer, there are some small towns on the outskirts and some villages, made up of streets and houses in which you will find the people. Us, we made this, these are our dwellings. Everything we do is reflected by our surroundings. If I don’t do my gardening I change the Universe because as you zoom in, you will see different plants in my garden. If I go to work at a different place, then I may move and someone else will live in my house that does like to garden and once again I will have affected the way the Universe grows and changes.
Like the smallest Nano cog in a massive complex clock, I can choose to change the way things work. It’s my choice, I have that power and so I am important in the scheme of things. This is what the boy at the coffee shop doesn’t seem to realise. If he stopped worrying about what he hasn’t got and what isn’t happening in his life then maybe he might be able to see what he has got and the difference he makes to people’s life’s. People like me. Without him, the person that serves my latte and croissant might not make me smile the way he does, for even though he talks the woe is me, he always has a smile and a good word to say. He makes my morning worthwhile.
It got me thinking. What if I wasn’t here, what if I removed myself from the Universal clock. No, I’m not about to do anything scary, this isn’t the dreaded suicide note, this is a theory on the difference I make to the Universe. I’m not indispensable, neither am I some sort of hero, but I do contribute, in the smallest of way.
What if I were gone?
This morning as I walked the dogs, it rained. The elderly gentleman I see every morning huddled down into his jacket. Winters coming, autumn has already arrived. The last of the summer is struggling to push out its last days.
I try to be cheerful, standing straight and purposely, defiantly looking into the wind and rain.
“Morning,” the gentleman raised his head and smiled.
The lady at the bus stop looked on and I smiled, nodding a greeting, she smiled back.
And so, the morning continued as I met and passed on greetings and pleasantries. Passing the house on the corner Brian stood and waved through the window. We reached the young woman struggled to get her child into the car. My little dog Pippa went in to help. A white fluffy fur ball with the waggiest tail ever, nudged the little girls hand. She stopped mithering and stroked the soggy hair on Pippa’s back.
Talking to the young mum, we discussed the difficulties of children. Calmer now, she picked up her little girl and put her in the car seat.
I feel so accomplished when I’ve walked the dogs. The gentleman only gets out once a day, he walks to the paper shop to buy his paper. Very few people speak to him, he smells of old tobacco and you see those that give him wide birth. What if I and others like me never spoke to him, his isolation complete, how would he feel?
The woman at the bus stop looked as though she carried the World on her shoulders. She smiled as I passed by, I may be the first person that day to make her smile. What if I hadn’t, what if others never smiled, how isolated would she be?
Brian struggles to stand, he cannot wash himself, and has carers who come in to help him. I began waving one sunny morning when I noticed that he stared wistfully through the window at a world he could no longer join. He waved back, not then, not the next time, but gradually he started to respond. Now he stands and waves. I take him cake and talk to him from time to time. What if I had never waved. Would anyone else have broken his isolation.
A kind word, an understanding, a helping wagging tail from my best friend Pippa and a young mother is reassured that she is not the only one that has struggled. A calmer child and an easy start to the young mum’s day. What if I hadn’t stop just to share a word.
I’m no hero, I’m no saint. I’m just me. When I’m sad I feel better when a stranger says good morning, or smiles, or stops to share a kind word. All I do is pass it on. Today all I ask is, what if no one ever…..would the Universe we live in be the same?