This afternoon I said goodbye to a colleague/mentor/friend. I normally hug her neck at the end of the year lunch we have at school, but Miss O. slipped out before anyone noticed. I figured I’d see her around the first of August since we both tend to go up before the rush to set our rooms up for the new school year. I thought about maybe working registration this year and chuckle at how she has all of her Washington DC trip materials piled high on her rolling chair, pushing it to the gym to convince more 8th graders to join her on this magical trip. This afternoon, as I sat in the funeral home chapel among a crowd of students, faculty, and family, the weight of finality began seeping its way into my heart when I realized registration and the school year will not be the same. I also remembered not saying a proper goodbye just a few weeks earlier. If only there had been 5 more minutes.
That thought of “if only I’d…..” is a universal regret we often feel after losing someone. However, that concept of taking 5 more minutes doesn’t have to be connected to the death of loved ones. How many times have we heard in response to “go to bed and turn off your light” the “ah mom – just 5 more minutes!” I was notorious for missing my curfew because I hated the idea of thinking I’d miss out on something really fun. That idea of “just a few minutes more” can be our outlook on life as a whole. What kind of impact would taking 5 minutes of listening to your child or spouse share about their day create? What about taking a few minutes to allow the elderly gentlemen to skip ahead of you in line at the grocery store with his small basket of items. As a teacher, what would it hurt to spend a few minutes after school listening to a student pour out their life to you because they feel you care. It all causes ripples.
Taking those few minutes (if for the right reasons) to make a small difference is, in my opinion, one of the most Christ-like things we can do. I am remembering the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. He didn’t have to spend time listening to her or talking with her- it was a choice. I don’t know if he went out of his way or if it was circumstances that brought him there. To me, the nugget is he took the time to listen to her. She knew he cared. I can hear some of you saying “He was Jesus that’s what he does!” Yes, he was fully human too. We are supposed to be like Him – so now what are you going to say?
By the size of the crowd at my friend’s funeral, I am going to go out on a limb and say she took the time to make those around her -friends, family, coworkers or students – feel appreciated and cared for too. So think about this. What can you do – just something simple that only takes a few minutes – that causes the ripple? Judging by the morning headlines, there isn’t enough kindness in the world or at least the kindnesses are not being noted. Your simple act of kindness make not make the whole world a better place, but it will certainly improve the world around you. Take 5 minutes and make a change.