What you leave behind is not what is engraved in monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others. Pericles
Does your cell phone ever get clogged with messages and numbers from unwelcome salespeople or questionable charity solicitors? It’s a rhetorical question; I understand. We are all bombarded with them. And yet, there may be a gratifying nugget to be found buried in the sludge of electronic waste.
My gem took the form of an unrecognizable cell number from Canada. I don’t know anyone who lives in our neighboring country, but for some reason, I made the curious decision to listen to the message from cyberspace. What I discovered surprised me but also inspired this newsletter.
The communication was from a former student, going back roughly 40+ years to my high school teaching days. Only the sender’s somewhat unusual surname triggered any recollection of him, given the amount of time that had passed, coupled with my dwindling memory. But the author, by now in his 60’s, wrote to express thanks and appreciation. He recounted that he had been invited to our home to discuss some personal issue confronting him. The details of that adolescent angst are irrelevant to this story, however. What is significant is the kindness of this gentleman in taking the time to express thanks for what he described as meaningful support at a difficult time in his life. Listening to his thoughtful message, I returned his call and chatted with the man for half an hour. We swapped decades of respective bios and parted with a promise to stay in touch via this newsletter.
Back to this week’s topic: Seeds. It is a somewhat daunting proposition that, everyday, we spread “seeds.” We sow hope or spite; love or indifference. Unless we live a hermit’s life, we are all “sowers” of some kind of crop. My former student “made my day“ with his decades-old recollection. He shared that our casual intervention with him at a key stage in his life had made a difference. The event was still vivid in his memory.
Clearly, my former student, from Bentley High in Michigan, is a “seed spreader” of gratitude and appreciation. His generous call to me motivates me to be similarly generative with others.
A dear friend of mine recently passed away. For years, if you called him on his cell, you would hear this voicemail direction:
“Do one act of kindness today.”
I suspect that my friend’s simple message will serve as his epitaph. Long after our good times with him have faded, his simple suggestion will endure.
Today’s homework: You’ve probably guessed it already. Spread some seeds today: the good kind, not the weedy kind. Be comforted by the understanding that those seeds may be blossoming in ways that you might never know. And that is truly an act of faith. Now get busy planting!
All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.