Two short stories to mark the week
I've been collecting quotes and stories for a while now. And I thought I'd share a couple of them with you.
A professor gave a balloon to each student in class one day. Each was asked to inflate it, write their name on it and throw it in the hallway. The professor then mixed all the balloons. The students were then given five minutes to find their own balloon. Despite a hectic search, no one found their balloon.
At that point, the professor told the students to take the first balloon they found and hand it to the person whose name was written on it. Within five minutes, everyone had their own balloon.
The professor told the students, "See, these balloons are like happiness. We will never find it if everyone is looking for their own. But if we care about other people's happiness, we'll find ours too."
I've been thinking about the way, when you squeeze passed a near-full row of seats in the cinema, people pull their bodies in to let you pass. Or, how strangers still say "bless you" when someone sneezes, a leftover from the Bubonic plague. "Don't die", we are saying. And sometimes when you spill lemons from your grocery bag, someone will help you pick them up. Mostly, we don't want to harm each other. We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot, and to say thank you to the person handling it. To smile at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress to call us "honey" or "dear" when she sets down our meal, and for the driver in the semi on the highway to let us pass. We have so little of each other now. So far from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange. What if they are the true dwelling place of the holy, these fleeting temples we make together when we say, "Here, have my seat" or "Go ahead — you first" or "I like your hat".
adapted from a quote by Danusha Laméris