women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Best Laid Plans

For those of you lamenting the recent lack of knitting photos, there will be some tomorrow. I promise. The shawl is coming along nicely, but still looks much the same and has demanded politely requested most of my knitting attention in the past week. I will also have a little kitty art to show you.

But today? Today is for unsolicited advice. (I can hear the sound of clicking mouses all over the blogosphere as you move on to the next bookmark...)

Baby Boy came downstairs about an hour ago and asked me, "What are your plans for today?" I answered with one word, "Work." A scintillating answer, no?

And I wonder why he seems so disinterested in what I am doing.

I briefly considered a more flippant answer, "I thought I'd start with bringing order out of chaos and then, with the rest of the afternoon, tackle world peace." Funny, no?

Actually, no.

It's not.

How do you save the world?

One person at a time.

And that much is clearly doable as I plan my day.

Everyday we get up and, before our feet even hit the floor, we are faced with two choices: We can make the world a better place for our being there, or we can make it worse. And what we choose makes all the difference.

When I worked for the Indianapolis Arts Chorale, one of my tasks was to pick up the mail at the post office. There was usually a man outside the door, selling brooms. I walked by that man at least four times a week. I was not in the market for a new broom, so I paid him little attention.

Then one day, I paused, smiled, and said, "Hello." I still didn't need a broom, but my subconscious evidently decided that the individual was more important to me than his usefulness or lack thereof.

My friend and co-author Greg informed me later that, "Today, you saw Christ." Say what?

"All I did was say hello. It's not like he was a tax collector or a prostitute or something."

That missed the point. It wasn't his station in life that was important. Quakers believe that there is that of God held within every person. Not just the pretty ones. Not just the powerful ones. Not just the rich ones. Not just the kind ones.

Everyone. Even the person you like least.

I think what Greg meant by his statement was that I saw that piece of God in a disabled and rather dirty veteran and made a small connection.

The next time I went to the post office, he said, "Hello." And smiled at me.

And just like that, I changed the world, making it a little more peaceful, bringing two strangers closer together.

If we began our sweaters by reading the entire pattern over and over until we had committed it to memory, starting any project would seem a massive and daunting task. But we don't begin with the whole; we begin with the singular: one stitch, then another, and another after that.

And slowly, patiently, the piece takes shape.

How do we knit?

One stitch at a time.

How do we change the world?

One person at a time, my friends. One person at a time...

So, what are your plans for today?


Donna Lee said...

I have a quote from Mother Theresa in front of my face every day that says, in essence, "Spread peace and kindness wherever you go. Let no one leave your presence without feeling better." I am a social worker by trade but a human being by creation. I try very hard to live by those words. I strongly believe in karma and I know that what you put out into the world will come back to you in ways you cannot imagine.

Kat said...

Susan - excellent post. I had a Pastor who told us constantly "there was a kernel of the Eternal" in everyone. I cannot tell you how many times those words have echoed in my head. Thank you for sharing!

Opal said...

this reminds me of the book "stranger in a strange land" by robert heinlein. (minus the cannibalism of course.) thanks for the wonderful reminder of the connection we all have within, if only we work at nurturing it.

teabird said...

A group of us has been having this discussion on Ravelry - we only can change the world one person at a time, and only after we have examined our own hearts. Lovely post!

La Cabeza Grande said...

I am of two minds (duh, Gemini!): respectful of the intent of your sage words, yet hearing "Pinky and The Brain" at the same time when he asks, "What are we going to do today, Brain?"

I certainly won't try to take over the world, but I do endeavor to plant seeds, lend a helping hand and offer a bit of hope however I can.

Ann said...

Well said - 1 person at a time - I do try to live like that too & pray that more people will do so!

Chris said...

Very nice. I live one day at a time and when we take life that way it is so much easier--as tomorow may never be here for me anyhow. And when I can live in that comcept I am a much nicer person.

ikkinlala said...

What a lovely post.