A Buddhist monk was once invited to speak to a class. He walked silently to the board and wrote, “Everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to help mom do the dishes.” He explained that, while we might not get to do extreme acts of heroism in life, we have little opportunities every day to do something kind and wonderful, and when we do, “You have committed an act of immeasurable profundity, because to each of us, our life is the universe.” I see this in my home all the time, like when I’m overwhelmed and Paul and the kids clean; and their many I-love-yous and the times where they hang out with me just because. These little things? They’ve changed my universe forever.
On my last day at Spirit Halloween, I was dressed in a scarecrow costume and assisting a customer when an older man tapped my shoulder. I turned, and he gestured to my outfit, saying with a laugh, “Wow!”
I struck a pose and said, “Thank you!” He laughed again and gave me a thumbs up. I could tell something was different about him, but I couldn’t pinpoint it. It wasn’t until he asked me for help later that I figured it out: he was deaf. And slowly, I realized he was there alone.
I was determined to make sure he had all the help he needed. I kept an eye out for him as I went back and forth from the register to the floor. He would laugh really loud at things he found, and I could see that other guests weren’t sure what to make of it, and were a little rude. Toward the end of his visit, he found a plague doctor costume and told me a bit about the plague. I removed my mask (it wasn’t the full face mask) so he could read my lips. Soon after, he said he needed to go, and to my surprise, he grabbed my hand tightly and patted it as tears came to his eyes. Then he hugged me a couple of times. He changed my life. He let me know I mattered, and that day, I really needed that.
Maybe our jobs aren’t exactly what we imagined (not saying that about Spirit Halloween, I could live there). Maybe our routines get monotonous at times and maybe we feel insignificant some days. But we’re not. Everywhere—all around us—are opportunities to help. To let others know that they matter. To lift their universe.