Sunday, March 27, 2011

Paper Clip

A few years back I read a book, not sure anymore what it was or where it came from, but it had a passage in it regarding being depressed or down in the dumps. It suggested you start a chain of paper clips. For every good or kind deed you did you added a paper clip to your chain. It is to serve as a reminder of the good things we do in a day or week, it is a visual for us to be able to look at and remember the nice things we do all the time. The things we don't think about when we do them. Just random acts of kindness. The visual certainly worked for me. I am a very kind, caring person, but as I coped with a lot of personal stuff I forgot that about myself.

I can not tell you how good I felt as I watched my chain grow. My husband and I would be sitting chatting about the days events and he would say "Add another paper clip!" A lot of the time I would say no, that is just something I do. He would always insist it was worthy of the paper clip, so with some pushing from him I would add a clip. My chain grew and it is still growing. I get a wonderful feeling when I add a clip. I made a difference in someones day. Sometimes a smile or simple comment will bring a stranger closer to you. For a moment in time you connect with someone. You may change their day. Older people are so happy to be noticed, their eyes brighten as you talk to them. You might have been the only one they spoke to on that day. I remember seeing a frail little old lady trying to get this huge bag of dirt into her cart at Walmart. I of course stopped and offered to help her. The bag had to be the big one, and after a short struggle I was able to get it in her cart. As soon as the deed was done, she looked at me and said "I don't think I will be able to get it out of the car when I get home, I think I better get the small one for now." WTF! Well, I graciously agreed, fought with the bag and the cart while trying to get it back out, mumbling to my self the whole time, "Crazy old lady". I finished my good deed, and walked very fast into the store to get out of there before she thought of something else she might need help with. When I got home and shared my story my husband laughed and said "You get two paper clips for that." I really hadn't been thinking of paper clips as I help this lady, I just did it because that is who I am. I started to smile at his statement about getting two paper clips, walked to my board where my chain hangs and picked two brightly colored clips and added them. I felt so much better, he should have had a clip that day. He made my crazy bad day so much better.

There are lots of times I forget about my chain of paper clips, but it hangs in my kitchen on a board on the wall. I walk by it all the time, every once in a while it catches my eye and I stand and look at it, sometimes, I will run my fingers along it, feeling each one, remembering that each clip was something nice I did for another person. It is a good visual for me. If you every feel down, maybe you should start a paper clip chain of your own, I still add to it. It makes a crazy day not so crazy. There is a purpose to every encounter.

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