Unusual people…

Delicate blue flowers caught my eye in the flower bed. I wondered where they had come from as they were nothing that we had planted … they had just grown. It only took a moment to realise that they were flax flowers and that, in fact, we were responsible for their presence after all, albeit inadvertently. They had appeared around the base of the bird feeder, where the constant stream of overwintering avian diners must have scattered stray seeds.  The seeds had lain there quietly, and now, with the advent of summer, were filling all the barren spaces in the flower bed. Feeding the birds through the winter was paying an unexpected dividend.

The beauty of the flowers reminded me of something my son had said earlier that morning. He had been over the moon to get a message from a friend he had met on his travels… someone for whom he had done something both random and nice. That gesture to a stranger had been the starting point of a friendship that has continued to this day.

We were talking too about what it is that makes us remember people, long after they have passed through our lives. We encounter so many other human beings over the years, and most of them fade into the mists fairly quickly. We remember the ones who were our friends, we may remember the bullies, or the students who excelled, but most of the names and faces will never resurface in memory unless something sparks recall. We do not remember the bus driver, the shop assistant, the passing acquaintance. Give it enough time and we probably won’t even really remember most of the children with whom we went to school… faces we saw every day.

It is much easier to recall the people who stood out for us for some reason, good or bad. The ones who elicited some strong emotion or with whom we made a personal connection. The ones who impressed us or touched our hearts. But of the strangers whose lives touch ours but briefly, we remember the ones who did something different from what we were accustomed to.

They do not have to be magnificent gestures. I remember an artist called Charlie who I met in Paris for the smile that lit up a room. Mr Marsh, the old gentleman who ran the pet shop on Town Street over half a century ago, who always had time for the children in his shop. Small details in any life, people of no other importance in my life than that they stood out for me…one for his infectious joy and one for having time to talk to small people.

Acts of kindness always make a person stand out in memory. I will never forget the gentleman who reassured me on my first day back at work after a drunk driver had rearranged my face and shattered my confidence, though I have not seen him for well over forty years. I will not forget the three Irish girls I met on the Calais to Dover ferry one Christmas Eve, who rescued me when the Bureau de Change was closed and I needed English money for my train ticket. That too is four decades ago. Or the face of the vagrant who made Christmas special one year, even further back in memory.

As my son and I talked about what had made people stand out for us, it became clear that it is the ones who we find unusual in some way that really make an impression. The ones who are kind, the ones who always smile, the person who really has time for others or the empathy to respond to unspoken need… they are the ones, of all the thousands of passing acquaintances, who make their mark.

Like the flax flowers, whose beauty is  an unexpected gift from having fed the birds through the winter, seeds are sown without thought or intent by people whose lives touch our own for a moment and who light up that moment by stepping outside of normality. The memory stays with us… and, sometimes, even the memory of beauty is enough to fill the barren spaces of our lives.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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33 Responses to Unusual people…

  1. The Militant Negro says:

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.


  2. jenanita01 says:

    Yes, I too have people like these in my memory box, people who made my life better, even if only briefly…


  3. Aquileana says:

    Such a moving post…. Yes, it is true: “It is much easier to recall the people who stood out for us for some reason, good or bad”… But how we recall the people who left a postive mark: that´s a good thing by itself. Beautiful post, Sue! 🙂


  4. dgkaye says:

    This was a beautiful truth Sue. It’s the kindness of others that is long remembered. 🙂 xxx


  5. MG WELLS says:

    Inspirational post. Thanks for sharing and wishing you a blessed day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A wonderful story Sue! And the nature cares for all. Have a good weekend. Michael


  7. Lovely post about exceptional kindness at a time when perhaps we really needed it. For me, I think that makes the difference – the perfect alignment that happens when someone has a need and someone steps up to fill it. Those people sprinkle my past and I won’t forget them. ❤


  8. Eliza Waters says:

    A beautiful post, Sue. It really gives one pause to think about how we impact others we meet on the road of life.


  9. I am very bad remembering names, so unless something special happens, I will never remember the face OR the name. I only seem to remember people in context when something memorable is happening.

    I wonder who will remember me? Other than my immediate family and a few close friends …


    • Sue Vincent says:

      I am very good at faces and seldom foget one, but names escape me unless it is online that I meet someone frst where there is no face.

      We will all be forgotten once the people we know and love are gone too. Names,works and even photos may be remembered, and become part of history if we have done something noteworthy, but the person will be forgotten and all that may remain will be their myth.


  10. I just love this post, Sue, This is so true and, I believe, that kindness to others brings a sense of well being that keeps us young.


  11. Anne Copeland says:

    Thank you, Sue. I often think how my body perhaps isn’t as young as it used to be, and it definitely has a lot of interesting lifemaps, but my mind feels honestly ageless. I can’t explain that exactly, but I know that when I try to apply some age to my mind, I can’t think of one. So I am happy with that.
    So many good folks and children have passed through my life, and likely some monsters like in the myths we read too, but even the monsters had their place in my learning and thinking processes. I especially remember all the special needs children I have loved, and all the times when they came up to me and hugged me so tightly I thought I might pass out, or they drew pictures for me and made me little cards. And I think of all the really good teachers I have had and have now and how I will remember them like a fine aged wine whose essence stays with us for a very long time, in some cases our whole lives.

    I honestly feel so wealthy with the friends I have made and loved over the many years. I can do without much in the way of material goods, but friends are the real gold in this world. Thank you one and all for touching my life in some meaningful ways.


    • Sue Vincent says:

      All experience, good and bad, can be a gift if we allow it to teach us…and love, given or recieved, and in whatever guise, is perhaps the greatest gift and teacher of all.


  12. Pingback: Writing Links…6/11/18 – Where Genres Collide

  13. cecilylalloo says:

    Reblogged this on Cecily's Writings and commented:
    What a lovely post … the people who touch us, make an impression upon us for something that they did, or said, or were just there. It brought memories to my mind and tears to my eyes, Sue Vincent.


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