I read a post on Facebook a few days ago that stuck in my mind. This is it:
Now, I don’t know if this incident ever happened or if this person just made it up (we all know Facebook is a repository for trite sayings and urban legends) but it’s the point behind it that struck me.
I live in what was once a small seaside town. It’s now significantly larger, but it’s still small enough that when I’m out walking, passers-by will usually say hello, nod, or comment on the weather. And, over the Christmas period, a lot of the people I passed said “Happy Christmas” or “Happy New Year”, and I thought this was lovely. It sounds silly but it makes you feel like maybe the world is not such a bad place after all.
So, I can understand how someone who is feeling alone, depressed, and perhaps even suicidal might react – however briefly – to interactions with other people. Even if it is only a nod or a hello. I imagine someone who feels that way feel like they’re locked away in their own private world with no contact with other people. To actually interact with someone might let a crack of light in, even if only for a moment. Perhaps if there were enough of those moments, it might make a difference.
Ironically, it’s in the bigger cities – the places that people would feel most alone – that it’s hardest to do this. People move at a frenetic pace, ignore all those around them, don’t make eye contact. But, maybe we should try it. A nod or a smile to a passing stranger. Maybe it won’t make any difference at all. Probably not. But, you never know.
Might as well start the New Year on a positive note.
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