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Friday, January 7, 2011

How to Wear a Suit Well

The holidays are over, and if you’re like me, once the last decorations are stored away, the house more or less back in order except for the hole in the wall Uncle Jack made when he stumbled over the dog to show he could balance a glass of beer on his forehead, you’re ready to plop down on the couch by the window for a nice long rest in the sun.

The grand kids got pretty much what they wanted, and right on schedule, busted up some of their gifts before the sun went down that first day. All seemed pleased with their gifts.

It was fun watching their faces. After all, Christmas is about giving and expressing your feeling for one another.

I know just enough about other religions to be dangerous, but I’m guessing those cultures who celebrate Diwali, Ramadan, Hanukkah, or other beliefs, all are wishing and hoping for goodwill and blessings to all just like us even if their celebrations come at a different time of the year.

I can’t remember where I read it, but a couple weeks before Christmas, the story was told of a children’s Christmas pageant where at the end, children lined up across the stage, each holding a cardboard square on which was printed a letter. The signs were supposed to read, CHRISTMAS LOVE, but the little girl holding the M had it upside down. It read CHRISTWAS LOVE. Folks snickered, then grew eerily silent as the real meaning struck them, CHRIST WAS LOVE. Accident on the girl’s part? Yeah. Could it be there was a hand involved, but not man’s?

Whether the Christian’s Christ or the other religions’ God. that’s what it’s all about——it’s all about love.

And it took a little girl to remind the crowd of the truth.

Now that the holidays are over doesn’t mean we have to toss the feeling aside. It really isn’t too difficult to keep the spirit.

I have a friend who enjoys purchasing a supply of gold dollars periodically and passing them out at random to passing individuals, usually youngsters.

Sometimes when folks are in a hurry to check out of a store, or when the customer ahead of then has twice as many items as he should, they take it out on the clerk. Have you ever noticed how some clerks never smile? Next time, put a smile on your face and talk to them—just a tiny compliment. You’d be surprised how it will boost their spirits—and yours.

I’ve tried to do that ever since a very successful businessman in Groves spoke to one of my D.E. classes over thirty years back. He told us he always searched for a way to compliment a customer. “Once,” he laughed, “A gentleman wanted to buy a suit. He looked like a gorilla.”

My prize wise-cracking student popped up. “How did you compliment someone like that?”

He smiled, and with the wisdom of the elderly, he said, “I told him he wore the suit well. And he did,” my friend added. “Very well.”

We don’t have to go out and give hundreds or thousands to charities (although if you can pull it off, more power to you), but a small, inexpensive compliment can provide the recipient a hundred bucks worth of ego for the remainder of the day.

I never knew who wrote them, but I remember a time years earlier at school when anonymous notes showed up in teachers’ boxes. They were short in length, but grand in praise, ‘Thank you for what you did yesterday,’ ‘You’re a fine teacher’, and others along that vein. Anonymous praise.

The notes lasted for a couple years, then stopped. I’ve gone back at times looking at who left that year, but I never came close to learning the identity of our Literary Samaritan.

A lady down the street from me walks the block every day or so. One morning as I was carrying garbage to the road, I noticed dogs had gotten into my neighbor’s garbage across the street, scattering it everywhere. He had already left for work.

I glanced down the road. Here came my neighbor down the street with a garbage bag. Now, I doubt if my acquaintance across the street knows our neighbor even performed such an act of kindness, but it is those small acts that help fulfill our lives.

The Dalai Lama, a Buddhist, said it best. “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple, and the philosophy is kindness.

And that just about says it all.

Merry Christmas the rest of the year.

1 comment:

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