Practically Neighbors

When you have a choice whether to be right or to be kind, choose to be kind. ~ Wayne Dyer

A cup of coffee. Cream. Spoons. No sugar! We all crowded around the coffee table at the hotel where I was staying a few days. A few more people showed up, poured their coffee, and stared at the empty container where sugar packets should live. We all stood still — in pause — like we couldn’t figure out what to do. The moment was tense.

Presently, an employee came hurrying toward us, her hands holding two containers stuffed with sugar packets.

“So sorry, everybody,” she said with a nervous voice. “I know you need your sugar! We are in the South, you know!”

We laughed and made a large path for her to get through. You could almost hear the “oohs” and “aahs” as she placed the containers on the table. Her smile was warm and inviting, and her laugh was contagious.

As if on cue, we all dove for the containers and one by one extracted the packets. A line formed as packets passed from hand to hand until everyone had one. Coffee was poured while people chatted good-naturedly.

I heard someone ask, “Are you having a good stay here?”

“Oh yes!” the man replied. “Better than what we imagined! It is spectacular!”

“Where are you from?” she asked.

“Knoxville, Tennessee,” the man replied.

“Well, then,” she crooned while stirring her coffee vigorously, “we are practically neighbors!”

“Have a good day,” people said as they left the gathering to enjoy their day. After everyone left, I could still feel their energy. They left a palpable wake of kindness and friendship in their path.

As I watched this amazing unfoldment of connection, it made me wonder if all our moments are really opportunities for us to make connections even if we don’t know those around us. And, if that is so, how many of those opportunities do we miss? How many times are we too busy to notice what is happening in the moment? How many times do we ignore the neighbor beside us? Or our family right in front of us? How often do we pass the homeless person on the street without so much as a glance?

If we cultivate loving-kindness no matter where we are, we create an energetic trail for someone else to step into. Energy follows our intentions and attention. And, as Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

That day everyone left much richer than when they arrived — a moment in time framed in friendship. A little sugar goes a long way…

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