Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hello, Hello... and Goodbye

As we walk through our lives each day we may pass hundreds of people we will never get to know, or care about or even notice.  That is a sad, but utilitarian way in which we proceed to the things we feel we need to do without taking time for things we may want, or should want, to do.

Regardless, some people take a precious moment to notice as many people as they can on this journey.  A simple smile, a nod or an outright “hello” directed at a passing stranger may or may not be returned.  When it becomes a habit, one begins to notice those gestures are more and more acknowledged and rewarded.

For nearly 10 years I have said hello to a person I passed each day in the hallway at work.  Over time a few more words were exchanged and then brief conversations.  Eventually, talk of family and other things crept into the very few moments we had to speak.  Never did we give each other our names, or share what we did for a living.


Turkish Goobye by Stephanie Berghaeuser
One day recently this gentle spirit I had come to regard as a friend stopped and said “Hello and goodbye, I am retiring next week.  Can I stop by to see you before I leave?”  I said certainly and gave her a business card.  She acknowledged with a bit of surprise where I fit in the big picture at work and I found out where she worked.  Incredibly, I neglected once again to ask her for her name.  We planned to sit for a few minutes on the coming Thursday, her last day of work.  I later realized I would not be in that day and scrambled to try to identify this person so as not to offend such a genuine request.

Eventually, with some help, I was able to communicate my grievous mistake and to apologize.  On that Thursday, my friend dropped off a token for me to remember the many hellos and the last goodbye.  It was a small hand-crafted Indian ceremonial elephant candle holder.  My immediate thought was that a candle represents light, which leads to knowledge, bringing about wisdom and leading to hope, thus creating the opportunity for peace among the people of this universe.  

In essence, this is the value of saying ‘hello and goodbye’ whenever we can. ----->L.S.


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