Sometimes an opportunity presents itself, right there in front of you. You can stop, and consider it, or flit on, and go about your very important day.
We were walking to school, and there, nestled under a thin spray of leaves, was a rectangular plastic pouch. I nudged it gently, with my shoe, then stooped to pick it up once I realized what it was.
"What did you find?"
"It looks like someone's driver's license. Oh! There's money in here, too. And credit cards."
We didn't have much time before the bell would ring, so I tucked the pouch in my pocket and began to talk to the boys about honesty, and opportunity. Saying: "Yes, I'm putting this in my pocket, but I can see from the driver's license where this lady lives, and after I drop you at school I'll find a way to get it back to her."
On the walk back home, I thought about my crazy day ahead. The calls, the deadlines, the projects I'd been putting off. I'd look up this lady's number, and give her a call this afternoon. No, I'd stick it in an envelope, and mail it tomorrow.
It took only a second to change my mind.
I checked my watch, walked past my street, rounded one corner, then another, and squinted at the numbers on the houses. Hers was towards the end of the block. I knocked on the door.
When she pulled back the curtains, she threw me a quizzical look, then brightened instantly when I pressed the pouch against her window.
"You found it!" she mouthed, beaming. Then she opened the door, full of smiles and thank yous.
Our days are filled with opportunities to brighten the lives of strangers. Whether it's a grin for the postman, or a wave to the garbage truck barreling down your street; a compliment to the checkout girl, or an extra bill left on a cafe table.
These past few weeks, I've been so caught up in my suddenly full work calendar that I began to lose perspective on what's important. And what's important is this: my family, my friend with newborn twins, my time reading to my 8-year-old's classroom. Connecting with my husband, chatting with my dad, and lighting a candle on what would have been my mom's 66th birthday.
So, no, I don't deserve special praise for walking a few blocks out of my way; it wasn't a big deal at all. But it sure was a big deal to that lady. And I'm glad I took the time to stop, reflect, and do the right thing before flitting away and scurrying back to my very busy life.