It can all change in an instant. That sentence always seems to have a negative connotation. Usually, it is in reference to a drunk driver forever changing dozens of lives with their decision to get behind the wheel. I live with the constant reminder that it only takes a second to change everything.
Case it point, feeding the dogs. It sounds simple enough. I’ve done it hundreds of times. But tonight was one of those instances that can change things in a second. Simply bending down to get the dogs’ bowls and my back decided it needed a night out. So it went out. My entire lumbar went into very painful spasms. It only took a second.
But that was only the beginning of tonight’s thought. When that sentence entered my conscious mind, I wondered why it always seemed to have a negative connotation. I figure if lives can be change forever for the worse in an instant, they can be change for the better in that same instant.
What does it take to change things for the better so quickly? Sometimes, a simple smile at someone struggling with their day. Often, a kind word with someone struggling with loneliness.
My wife likes to smile at people. She doesn’t go out often, but when she does, she has the uncanny ability to attract people in need of a smile. She has an abundance of smiles all free for the taking. In a doctor’s waiting room, she finds a child drawing a picture. She stops and compliments that child and gives the kid a warm smile. The child smiles back. Who knows what that compliment means to that child? Years from now, when that child is grown, she may remember the lady who gave her a big, warm smile just when she need one and she’ll, in turn, smile at another human who needs it. That instant in her life may have changed her for the better.
Maybe it only takes five dollars. Five dollars placed anonymously into a shopping chart, but not just any cart. This cart contained all the belongs of an individual who was at a hard spot in their life. They were homeless. They were hungry. Five dollars can mean the difference in eating and another night of hunger under a bridge. Again, as you probably guessed, it was my wife who place that five dollars in that shopping cart. It was an impulse, but that’s what moments are made of, an instance, a thought, a sudden need to help, to heal the hurt in the people around you.
Newton taught us that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Those actions can happen in a split second. The time it takes to curl the corners of your mouth into a smile. It can all change in an instant.