“A bell’s not a bell ’til you ring it, a song’s not a song ’til you sing it, love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay, love isn’t love ’til you give it away!”

Oscar Hammerstein ll, lyricist and theatrical producer

There is a bench next to the parking lot at the public library where I’m a frequent visitor. The bench has been there as long as I can remember. From time to time someone will sit on it, no big deal.

That’s the job of a bench at least the way I understand it. But one day, not long ago, the bench I’m talking about turned into magic.

I left the library having accomplished my mission of reading the latest issue of Runner’s World.

As I was getting into my car, I noticed a tiny white box sitting on the bench. When I picked it up and took the lid off, I found a glass heart along with a note that read, “To the lucky person who finds this know that you are loved, appreciated, and important.”

At home I shared the new found treasure with my wife. After keeping it for a night, I decided to add a note of my own and return the gift to the bench where I found it. My hope is whoever found it next felt the same magic I did, added a note of their own, then returned it to the bench for another person to discover. And if this ritual catches on, very soon the tiny box with a heart and a stack of love notes will find it’s way around the world.

*            *            *

With a little imagination we can all become tiny boxes like the one I found.  As the old adage goes, “Everyone brightens up a room, some by coming in and others by leaving.” You and I clearly have a choice which of these two we want to be. And the good news is it’s not all that complicated to make folks glad they met you. You have a smile, why not use it. And the words please and thank you never go out of style.

Being just a little bit silly can sometimes brighten someone’s day.

Rather than complain to the cashier at the gas station about the price of fuel, I said, “Give me twenty five coconuts on pump number five.” A week later on my next visit I said, “Twenty-five snowballs on number seven, please.” The third time around it was, “Twenty-five Eskimo pies on number two.” And on my last visit I asked for twenty-five pounds of polar bear poop. Now the cashier starts laughing as soon as she sees me.  It’s always good to hear her say,  “Thank you for making my day.” This probably won’t land me in any hall of fame but I bet I’m her favorite customer.

*            *            *

“Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow.”

John Lennon


6 thoughts on “ONCE UPON A BENCH

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