It was early morning, yet already it had been a stupendously bad day. One thing after another. The downward spiral continued when a large pitcher of orange juice slid from my hands and smashed to the floor. Glass and sticky juice spewed to the farthest corners of the kitchen, slithering down cabinets and appliances, puddling at my feet.
Stunned, I looked at the mess. Then I dropped dejectedly down to the floor, my eyes filling with overdue tears. The tears came from begrudging and angry acceptance that "today is just not my day."
Bad day or not, errands had to be done. Filled with angst and negative mental baggage, I got in my car to drive into town. In the few minutes it took to travel to the bank I made a decision. I would be careful not to pass my bad day off to anyone else. I would be cordial and polite. And I would NOT retaliate when that harried driver pulled quickly and rudely in front of me causing me to slam on my breaks, dumping the contents of my drink onto the front car seat!
Standing in line at the bank, I was silently talking to myself. Actually, I was scolding myself. All of the events that had accumulated and contributed to my bad day were, in reality, so very minor and trivial. I was over-reacting. I was indulging in self-pity. I tried to imagine the innumerable, individual lives that had been effected by 9/11, by the war in Iraq, by the tsunami.
For the second time that day my eyes filled with tears as I realized how disconnected I felt from all those individuals who are trying to cope with truly traumatic events in their lives. They all seemed so distant and unknowable, and this justified and intensified my belief that I was being self-centered and selfish. I was sure that all my efforts to be a caring and loving person were for naught.
A voice broke through my mental distractions. Somehow I had mechanically finished my bank transaction and the teller was trying to get my attention. "Young lady," she was saying, "Young lady!"
I looked up and into the eyes of the bank teller, a silver-haired grandmother with a gentle beauty. Her keen eyes reflected concern as she leaned forward and softly said, "I don't know what is happening inside of you, but please, believe me when I tell you that - everything will be okay."
And then she did something quite marvelous. My hands were resting on the counter. She took her hands and placed them gently on top of mine. The touch was quick but electric. And in that moment my world shifted.
In the moment of her touch my self-doubt vanished. I found understanding and acceptance. I knew that love was being channeled through the heart of this beautiful woman directly into my heart. I was infused with a profound awareness - that I am loved. I was speechless. I smiled. It was my first smile of the day. But it would not be my last, as from that moment on my entire day was transformed.
Perhaps without even knowing it, the kind-hearted bank teller allowed herself to be a conduit of divine love. She was instrumental in transforming a day that seemed destined to be a day of tears into a day of smiles. The seemingly small gesture of a this gentle woman not only changed the course of my day, it became a powerful reminder in my life. The profound effect of that one simple, loving touch remains in my heart to this day.
More people than not scoff at the idea of world peace. Laugh if you wish. As for myself, I believe it is possible to transform our world ... one act of loving kindness at a time.
Remember: A simple smile. A warm handshake. A kind word. A gentle hug. Through these, we open the transformative power of love.