Recently, I had the occasion to go to the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville to visit my granddaughter with my mom. The hospital holds many great memories for me; my granddaughter is getting great care and on a very good path to getting better. My grandson (her brother) beat cancer there when he was six months old; one of my sons was treated there, my mother had surgery there, and my father passed away there.
Yes, I did say great memories. Even my father’s passing there fills me with wonderful memories. Knowing that he peacefully slipped from his earthly bonds with grace and dignity was both a sight and feeling I shall forever remember. The wonderful memory received today was in watching a young couple, beaming from ear-to-ear with smiles, as they took their five-month-old daughter out of the room she shared with my granddaughter. That tiny little girl only has a few months’ worth of memories right now, and what may be left of her life will most certainly contain memories that most of us would run from. This innocent little girl not only has Cerebral Palsy but has a disease so rare that only around 800 people worldwide have it. But yet, the parents were smiling.
But I did say the “Magic” of memories. What could possibly be magical about dying, sickness, illness, or disease? It is in the care that my father received, the smiles on the parents’ faces, and the compassion within the faces of the staff who came and went to and from my granddaughter’s room. They will stay with me forever as magical. Magical, because all those people could have been the absolute opposite of how they were. But they weren’t.
They showcased the best of human compassion and caring for others. Their presence and actions were magical. Those magical memories will help me do the things I do each and every day in order to give someone else a magical memory.
We try so hard to figure out how to fix the stuff that either isn’t broken or that we truly have no control over. When the easiest way is right there in our midst, within our grasp. Drawing from those magical memories. That’s what they are there for. They aren’t intended to be stuck in some dark, cobweb-infested corner of our brain. They are wonderfully glorious and just begging to be used. “Call on me coach,” they say to us every day.
Just imagine, the person who spits vile things at you! You only have to pull up some magical memory you have and hand part of it to them. It begins to grow should they garner a few more of them, and eventually, they too, will hopefully start on their path to becoming a better person. And little, if any, effort was really expended. No one broke a sweat or pulled a muscle.
There is an old saying, I forget from where; “You should always leave them smiling!” Well, if I can’t slap a smile on their face, I can do my best to leave them with a happy thought. Such as the person who rang up my groceries at the store, whose greeting referenced someone I am not. I don’t blame them because I do not know their life. I drew on some of my “Magical memories” by making sure my coat was opened enough so they would have no doubt who they were talking to. We carried on a lovely conversation. Did I leave him smiling, or happy? I can’t say for sure, but I tried to, and I’d like to think I did.
There were two women whom I spoke to at the hospital where my granddaughter was. The conversation started out with them being a bit confused. I could tell given what they were looking back and forth at and in the expressions on their faces. But “Magical memories” to the rescue once again. In no time, we were having the most wonderful conversation about the extra things they do for the kids who find themselves there.
Every interaction we have with another person gives us the potential to leave them walking away thinking, “Wow, I always thought transgender people were (<fill in the blanks>,) but I guess they are kinda just like me.” That is my intention anyway. I may not have the prettiest face, but I do try to put my best face forward, and hopefully, at the same time, I might help contribute to their pile of magical memories.
The best thing we have going for us, in our ability to make this world a better place, stems from the three-pound mass of grey goo sitting on our shoulders. We either use it well, or we all lose the opportunity to make everything better.
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