I was sitting in my car, wearing my corrective lenses for colorblindness that double as sunglasses. My kids had just gone inside and I let go as soon as the door to my old house closed. I sobbed. Tears ran down my face as I stared at the cows in the pasture.
It had been about three months since my wife left me and I was having a bad day.
I was paralyzed in that car. I sat and wept and stared at all the beauty I had lost and wept more. One of my kids came out to check on me. I smiled at him, told him I was OK, and that I’d come inside in a few minutes. He went back in and I started crying again. I was holding my phone and I couldn’t think of a single person to call. I didn’t want to burden anyone with my problems. I felt so alone in that car.
A few minutes later my phone chimed in my hand. I had received a private message from a friend. I hadn’t talked to her in months. The message was simple: “You are on my mind!” That one, simple message gave me the strength to get out of the car and parent my kids.
When I was looking for work in Louisiana, in a job market that was completely stagnant, I felt completely overwhelmed and hopeless. I shared with one of my friends how frustrated I felt. She told me “You’re only looking for one job, not 100. It only takes one person saying ‘yes.’” That one, encouraging phrase echoes in my head even now in Dallas as I look for work.
My first week at Trauma Camp was rough. Really rough. One of the other clients gave me a small succulent and told me how to care for it as it grew roots as well as when it would be ready to transplant. I looked at that little plant every day. It came back to Texas with me. I still have it. That one, small gift meant so much to me on a bad day.
Don’t underestimate how big an impact the small things you do, say, or message can have in someone’s life. You never know if your gesture is the one that gives someone the strength to get out of a car, keep looking for work, or get outside of their negative headspace.