Yesterday I began to clean my sink and the counter around it. I know began sounds like a pathetic word as it shouldn't take that much time or effort to clean a sink and counter. Let me do a little explanation. First of all the counter is one of the longest surfaces in the house. It's probably my favorite features of our home. However, it becomes quite crowed with an amazing number of hair, face, and body products. In all actuality it is quite ridiculous. One person could never use it all - and of course - I don't. Second, it had been quite some time since I had bothered to go through it all and clean under it. So when I say began - I mean I started and decided I simply didn't have the energy or desire to finish.
Which is really where my story begins. As I was finishing up a tiny portion of the counter, my husband came into the bathroom. He saw what I was doing and I explained that I would finish it on the weekend. Today, my husband did not have to work summer school but I had to go into work for training. As I drove down the highway I randomly had the thought that it would be super cool if my husband decided that he would just dive in and tackle the task for me. Unfair I understand - but he's been known to do that kind of thing before. I then brushed the thought off as he had two kids to take care of and this was his only day off from summer school all week.
However, as you might have guessed, when I came home from school, not only had he cleaned my sink and my entire counter but he had cleaned the whole bathroom. Yes, I understand I am blessed. And yes, I am beyond grateful. It was the one thing I really needed to make me smile and help me get motivated. He has an uncanny ability to see what I need and make it happen.
Again, as you probably guessed, this got me to thinking. Sometimes what people need to bring them joy, to encourage them, to help them to motivate them to do what's next, is a seemingly simple task. And by doing so we may save them from what to them is a significant amount of time, energy and frustration. And I think, if we are paying attention we could fairly easily observe what others need. What others would consider an wonderful gift. I won't say I'm good at it - but I will say that Rich simply payed attention to how frustrated I was while trying to complete the activity I had started. What a difference we could make if we payed just a little more attention to the signals others are giving off. If we noticed that they were having a hard time at something and helped. If we observed how others were feeling and did what we could just to bring a little joy into their day.
Don't get me wrong, building houses for others, building wells for communities, providing food for those who have none, etc. change lives forever and we should aspire to do help others in these ways. But what a much happier, pleasant and quite possibly productive atmosphere we would live in if we paid attention to small signals and then followed through.
As one on the receiving end of such a gift it is now my job to pass it on. "Pay it Forward" if you will. And I will do so with a smile on my face and a huge sense of relief!