The contradictions are what make human behaviour so maddening and yet so fascinating, all at the same time. Joan D. Vinge
We’re a curious bunch, humans, aren’t we? At times I lament our savagery, our meanness and our power to do harm yet just as often I find myself warmly cheering on our compassion, our warmth and our gorgeous quirky little ways. Sometimes I just smile. Smile because I love seeing people doing their thing and loving it. I find myself smiling and having happy thoughts because of the small way I’m touched by other people’s existence.
This random theme was prompted on my walk home a couple of days ago. I noticed a gentleman a little way ahead of me. He had stopped near a seat on the street and then moved to one right next to it. I noticed he placed something on the second one, a bright red apple. As I got closer I also noticed that he’d placed an orange on back of the previous seat. He had in his hand a bag full of fruit. This behaviour was puzzling. Here was a man, leaving fruit on public seats in a public; was he making some sort of statement, was he simply leaving fruit for the homeless or was there some other purpose behind his seemingly unusual behaviour? He brightened my day, his act of kindness or madness was, for me, an artistic one. I found myself marvelling at the scene, two closely placed concrete seats with vibrantly coloured organic fruit placed strategically atop. The pure atheistic value of the juxtaposition, on an overcast and dreary day was akin to standing in front of a masterpiece in a gallery. I found myself smiling all the way to the car and pondering the quirkiness of this “random” act.
It got me thinking about how incredible the human animal is in their capacity to bring joy to others through the small acts they perform by just being themselves. I’m not talking overt or gratuitous acts planned to bring joy. I’m taking about the simple, quiet,sometimes habitual acts that form part of the course of life. For instance, I follow a photography blog. This guy posts great photos of birds with quirky titles and tidbits of interesting information. It’s not vital to life, it’s not something that wakes me in the night with an urgency to dissect the meaning behind it but it does make my day brighter, it raises a smile and adds value to my week.
A school friend posts a “happy Monday kids” post to Facebook each week. She follows up on Wednesday with encouraging words to let us know it’s hump day and then she wishes us all well on a Friday for a happy weekend. She’s not winning Nobel peace prizes nor being interviewed by Oprah for her humanitarianism but she brightens my week and from the long list of comments on each post, she’s brightening the week of dozens of others too. She’s just one person, doing her thing and making a difference.
I visited another floor in my building a few weeks back and was mesmerised by the desk of a colleague, everything, and I mean everything was purple. The whole space was a purple haze. Every folder, binder, pen and trinket was a shade of purple. I don’t have a favourite colour, nor a favourite food or a favourite anything really, I pretty much dabble across the palette but I love when I see someone so passionately into something that it colours their world. It makes me smile at the quirky nature of us humans.
Each of us has potential to bring joy to the world and brighten it in some way. Some share their hilarious and breathtaking adventures, some write beautiful poetry, some walk the streets smiling at those they pass, some share poignant thoughts and ideas for others to ponder. There are so many and varied ways that we impact the people around us. Do you recognise how you brighten the world by just doing your thing?