A more familiar saying is "Don't burn bridges".   That advice has some finality to it.  I would suggest we be careful to not even singe the steps which lead up to the bridge.

Today I'm sitting on a university campus in a beautiful city in a country other than my home.  I asked a very cheerful young lady at the information booth whether I could have access to wireless internet and while she generated a password for me we chatted about how ridiculously long and cold this winter was, and how the Great Lakes between our cities were almost 100% frozen over.  The only lake not completely frozen over was Lake Ontario - I commented that this was my turf as I was from the Toronto area.  

What do you know?  She just had friends visit from there who are on work visas in Canada from Ireland.  She was up to Toronto not long ago to visit them too. 

Every interaction you have with another person reflects not only on you, but on your city, your race, and your country.  Isn't that wild?  How powerful we all are!  I have a great impression of the people in Grand Rapids - they've all been incredibly friendly and helpful during my visits here.  In fact, I would venture to say that this has predominantly been my experience throughout most of the USA. I wonder if each person I've interacted with has ever stopped to recognize that they've been part of my collective impression.

How often do you consider the impact of your actions/reactions/words on the lives of others? I need to keep this more in mind when I'm interacting with people too.  In everything we do, we represent not only ourselves, but our family, our city, our race, our company, our industry, our country.... everything the other person sees us as representing.  That is powerful!

Yeeeesh!  Head smacking moment!   What about the impression that woman has of me from the incident on The Gardiner Expressway?  Oh no!  What if I was her first, last or most powerful impression of Canadians?  (Not my proudest rush hour moment.)  Sigh!  I'm certainly not perfect, but even though I fail at times, I do always try to be kind.  

Although we need to be aware of the relationships we keep, and I believe there are some we shouldn't, it is important to attempt to extract ourselves carefully when necessary.  You don't know whose front steps you'll be standing on one day, hoping to land your dream job, meeting the family of someone you love, asking forgiveness or assistance with something important.  You don't know who will have the power to grant or deny your wish.  If you haven't singed those steps, doors may open, the welcome mat may be ready for you, and you may reach your goal.  Burn those steps even just a bit, and that singe may in turn burn you.

Today I am grateful for the warm welcome I received.  Thank you to everyone in Toronto too for leaving this lovely lady with a favourable enough impression that she chose to remain friendly with me.  What a delightful person she is... and therefore what a delightful impression she leaves with me about the people at Grand Valley University in Grand Rapids.  I love it here!

We're all in this together.




+1 #1 Christina 2014-04-03 16:33
Thank you for spreading your positivity from your neck of the woods to mine!! :)

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