“Rank is but a Guinea Stamp, the man himself s the gold” Rudyard Kipling or Robert Burns
An interesting line from a piece of poetry called The Tyler’s Toast. I have heard that line many many times yet I never really listened to the words. Suddenly, the other day, while sitting in the blackout induced traffic, this very line started to repeat again and again in my mind. It made so much sense!
If we look around us at the economic and political turmoil, at the success and suffering of others on this wonderful planet of ours, one single truth stands out. That truth is; success, wealth, servitude and suffering are totally irrelevant to who we are. Our unique identity is encapsulated in the outer veneer of human experience.
During my time trading in Africa and the four years I spend exposed to incredible township poverty as a Twasa, I noticed that a lot of the time the people who have a huge impact on others are themselves experiencing that same discomfort or reduced circumstance as their peers, yet they choose to make a difference. I could fill your hard drive of cases like the old lady who turned her shack into a refuge for homeless old people, the high school children who took it upon themselves to teach the younger children when their teachers were on strike, the car guard who helps an elderly woman into her new BMW, the family who pays for their domestic workers education or the business man who buys the petrol attendant a cool drink on a hot day.
The next time you are having a bad day, when things are not going as you planned, take a moment to look around you, look at random people from all walks of life and social status and fantasize. Think of the possibilities of the good that they are quietly doing in the world. Scratch the surface in your imagination and see the children of the trash collector having supper, or the farmer in his bakkie collecting medication for a farm worker, the person next to you in the traffic with a surprise sweet or magazine for their child or loved one. Look around and enjoy the wonderful quirky nature of humanity and see if you can make a difference in your life by making a difference in some one else’s.
A simple smile can go a long way to helping us all have a better day!