Sunday, September 13, 2015

Take What You Need

I have been traveling the past few months so have not been home much.  Now that I am back home and settling in, I am feeling my creative urge again, which I love.  I have started thinking of PROJECTS.  “Projects” are what I call the work that I do – it is interactive art really – outside our home.  I didn’t realize how much I missed doing my projects, how hungry my soul was for creating, until I got back home.  Now my mind is whirling with projects begun earlier begging to be finished and shared and new ideas buzzing in my head. 

I have had a couple days in a row of TIME OFF.  I am finally caught up on sleep and more easily able to focus creatively.  So this evening I put a project into play. 

It is called “Take What You Need”.  I made a tear-off sign, the kind you used to find in grocery stores with apartments to rent or French tutors to hire (before Google took over for the paper versions and made it simple to find anything).  Instead of details or a phone number on the tear off sections, I listed things that people might need.  Things we ALL need, but someone might find themselves in short supply of.  Here are the things I listed:

·         Invisible hug
·         Boost of self confidence
·         Smile
·         Twinkle in your eye
·         Pinch of courage
·         Spring in your step
·         Love
·         Breath of fresh air
·         Bit of a rest
·         Giggle
·         Friendship
·         Someone to confide in
·         Time
·         Good luck
·         Wisdom
·         Gratitude
·         Self love
·         Courage
·         Confidence

My sign hung up and waiting for passersby willing to stop and take it in
Then David helped me hang the sign on a pole on the sidewalk near our house (the Big Yellow House).  I was so excited, giddy even!  I was giggling and couldn’t wait to see if people would stop to read it and take a slip of paper.  I rushed up onto our porch to see if I might see someone walk by.

My assistant helping me hang the sign

Me, super excited right after it was hung.  
About two minutes after we hung it the first people walked by.  It was two women – I am not sure if they were friends, sisters, or a mother and daughter.  THEY STOPPED TO READ IT!  I couldn’t believe it!  I was thrilled that they were engaging with my project.  David was sitting on the porch with me (they could not see us) and we could hear them say, “Awwww, look” which made me smile.

Then something happened.  One of the women put her arm around the back of the other woman and gave her a reassuring pat on the back.  The women both reached up and took a slip of paper from the sign – first the one who received the reassurance, then the other.  They stood there a moment, and then walked away slowly with the one having her arm around the other. 

In the middle of the sidewalk, with traffic rushing by, she found a tiny bit of something she needed
I almost cried.  It was so beautiful to witness.  Even before I went down to the sign to see which words they had chosen, I knew that one of them really did NEED something, and happened upon the sign at just the right time to get it.

The woman in need had chosen COURAGE.  I do not know if she needs courage to face an illness, to find a job, to leave a relationship…  All I know is that today, through a tiny slip of paper, I managed to deliver a teeny bit of courage to a stranger.  I saw her put it in her purse as they walked on.  I like to believe that she will pull that slip out again and remember that she has the courage to get through whatever she is facing. 

The project is just starting but already has been so rewarding for me.  It has reminded me that we are all in need, every last one of us.  Some of us need laughter, some are a bit shy in the confidence department, some of us crave a bit of rest.  And we all have the ability to pass along those things to people we meet; we can compliment them on their talent to boost their confidence, babysit an hour or two to provide nap time, tell a joke to bring about laughter, and hand out hugs like there is no tomorrow. 

My project is providing “concrete” bits of things, slips of paper, to the people who stop and read the sign.  But I am thankful to have been reminded to hand out abstract “things” to those around me, too. 

Because, in the end, we all need something.


Annette Benak said...

Excellent! I'd take a boost of self confidence!

Heidi Benham said...

I love this idea. Do you allow shameless stealing of your ideas to be put into action in other states? My co-workers could use this sign posted next to our copy machine which has become the location of fretful and discouraging comments lately in times of tighter time-lines and fewer staff to manage the load. May I?