I need to practice allowing myself to receive the kindness offered by another. I need to say “thank you” to a stranger when a stranger does what could be an unnecessary and needless act—at least in the practical sense–but not in the spiritual sense, or in the relational sense, or even in the symbolic sense. “Here, let me help you.” What a powerful statement.

 

By Carmelene Melanie Siani

 

On my way into the Starbucks a man held the door open for me.

“Why, thank you!” I said cheerily. Sincerely. One person holding the door open for another. It’s such a simple thing. Such a simple little act between two people.

“Here, let me hold that door for you—and let you go in first.”Something so small and yet so precious that it seems necessary to me to hope that in fact it never dies. “I can hold my own door, thank you very much,” I hear being said.
Or, “I don’t need a man to open a door for me.”

But you know what.

You do.

Okay, maybe you don’t think you do, but I know I do. Why?

Because I need to practice allowing myself to receive the kindness offered by another. I need to say “thank you” to a stranger when a stranger does what could be an unnecessary and needless act—at least in the practical sense–but not in the spiritual sense, or in the relational sense, or even in the symbolic sense.

“Here, let me help you.”

What a powerful statement.

I honestly think it’s good for us to behave in this way—a way that says not only “Let me help you with something small you probably don’t need help with right now,” but that also says, “Lets admit that in the larger picture at some point, we will all need help from each other.”

“Thank you,” I say over and over as that kid with the baseball cap and the piercing holds the door, or that little girl with the candy-all-over-it face, or that old man my age, maybe older, holds the door.

I only wish that in those momentary exchanges I had the time to say “Thank you for not only holding the door, but for giving me something for which I can say thank you.”

One person holding a door for another is ultimately a simple act that has not as much to do with doors being opened as it does with each of us slaying our own egos a little bit.

“Here. I’ll hold the door for you,” equals, “I’m willing to step myself aside and let yourself go first.” A sincere, eye-contact “Thank you,” means, “I acknowledge your gift, appreciate it and step myself aside to accept that you are giving me something I have not explicitly asked for.

When I think about it, I see that there is actual humility involved.

“You know, ” I leaned over and said to the Starbucks door guy as he and I walked through the door more or less side by side, “I hope that kind of thing never dies.”

Knowing that I was referring to him having opened the door for me, he laughingly said that he agreed, he hoped it never died too, adding that he was “doing his best to keep it alive.”

 

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Photo: Pixabay

Editor: Dana Gornall

 

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