Before he became president, Abraham Lincoln spent twenty years as an unsuccessful Illinois lawyer -- at least he was unsuccessful in financial terms. But when you measure the good he did, he was very rich indeed. Legends are often untrue, but Lincoln was the real thing. During his years as a lawyer, there were hundreds of documented examples of his kindness, honesty and decency. For example, Lincoln didn't like to charge people much who were as poor as he was. Once a man sent him twenty-five dollars, but Lincoln sent him back ten of it, saying he was being too generous. He was known at times to convince his clients to settle their issue out of court, saving them a lot of money and earning himself nothing. An old woman in dire poverty, the widow of a Revolutionary soldier, was charged $200 for getting her $400 pension. Lincoln sued the pension agent ... Read Full Story >>
I was thinking the other day, I had been very short tempered with my lovely partner, who didn't deserve it, just because I was stressed about something at work. I stomped about the house and eventually flounced out saying I was going to the library, without a backward glance or asking if there was anything I could pick up for my loved one. I suddenly realised that I had spent all day with virtual strangers (I am a Work Based Tutor and visit different companies daily ) to whom I had been polite, courteous, 'smiley' and generally a jovial person. I did not mention my work worries and nobody guessed I was feeling particularly stressed and unhappy but, I managed to hurt the one person who deserved it least, the person who would have given me a hug and let me have a moan. On my way back from the library I began to feel guilty ... Read Full Story >>
I was in my city centre the other day, something I rearely do because it is so busy, noisy and unfriendly. I walked past the shopping centre and noticed a youngish man sitting in the doorway of a shuttered shop. Something about the way he huddled into his grubby blankets against the cold steel shutters, his straggly, sandy hair blowing about his face in the wind and rain, made me feel so much compassion. It was as if even the buildings were against him, shutting him out, telling him there was no place for him here. I went to a sandwich shop and bought him a sandwich and a take-away tea. I took them back to him and we didn't exchange conversation really, I just said, "I've brought you a bite to eat," and he said, "Thanks very much" and gave me a lop-sided smile -- as if he didn't have enough happiness ... Read Full Story >>
Today, I needed to ring the helpline of my internet provider -once again! I have had problems with disconnecting and called the line to ask them to reset my connection. I was put through to a young man, who gave his name and asked what the trouble was. He tried his best to help, but it took a long while and I was on the phone for quite some time. He apologised to me several times for keeping me waiting. It was as frustrating for him as it was for me I am sure.
Finally - to his relief - I was reconnected. I thanked him for his help, using the name he had given to me at the beginning of the call. He was very surprised and I could hear the smile in his voice as he said, "Thank you for remembering my name - we are not often thought of as people, just technical assistance - you have made my day!"
Small acts - big differences.
This weekend, Summer finally arrived in my town! On Sunday Bigsi and Gangly Son and I went for a walk by the canal. It is a popular spot and there were several brightly painted canal boats and small white cruiser boats sailing up and down the murky water. Happy families were out and about strolling with wet doggies, pink tongues hanging out, panting in the heat with the exhaustion of running backwards and forwards between interesting smells and exciting russling noises in the undergrowth. We sat at the side of the canal on our blue stripey blanket, lazing under a shady tree, dappled sunshine warming us through the leaves, as we drank our cool lemonade. As the boats went by, most people waved and called hello, some raising their glasses in a cheery salute and the strolling families smiled and let us pet their dogs or had a brief chat about the lovely weather or how the dog had been for a swim. It ... Read Full Story >>