Thanksgiving is a time to remember, reflect upon and replenish our relationships with friends and family. The other day I had the privilege of speaking with some homeless veterans at an outreach center. I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman who goes by the name of Thaddeus. He is a Vietnam Veteran, who served with the Special Forces, and he states that he is homeless by choice. He retired from the Army after dedicating 20 years of service to our country. He proceeded to tell me about his life, and the many blessings he has experienced throughout his time here on earth. His mission is to be here for other veterans who have lost their way. He lives in a tent without heat and relies upon the generosity of the community for any needs that may arise.
So often we get busy in our own lives and are blinded to the fact that there are people all around us who need a helping hand. There are a few sayings that have left me with much to ponder, one of which is:
“To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
Think about this for a while, just a smile, a gesture of kindness, compassion and respect can make such a difference in the hearts of most people, but for those who are feeling invisible and insignificant, this can turn their world around.
So next time you walk down the street, hold your head up, and smile at the person coming toward you. Stop for a moment at the feet of the person sitting on the street, ask them their story, what makes them who they are, and where have they been? Every single person has a unique and compelling story, which can leave a lasting impact on our lives as well. By opening ourselves to being aware of those around us, and extending our hearts, we too will be filled with more love and meaning.
Here is yet another saying that also leaves me much gratitude for my family, friends, and colleagues, as well as for the thousands of veterans and active duty troops and their families that I have had the honor of meeting.
“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints in our hearts and we are never ever the same.”
I have personally been forever changed by the exchanges of heartfelt words and actions of all those I meet.
Take this time to remember our many blessings, reflect on the needs of our veterans, active troops, and their loved ones who may be separated during this holiday season. Also remember our elderly and homeless citizens who also have a story to tell. Take action to provide, make a difference, and replenish your connections with your communities. I believe that we are much stronger standing as a forest, than we are standing alone in a field of one.
Today take a moment to make a difference in someone’s life. Remember:
“Regret For Things We Did Can Be Tempered By Time. It is Regret For Things We Did Not Do That is Inconsolable”.
–Sidney J. Harris.
Have a blessed holiday season.
Bridget C. Cantrell, Ph.D.