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Boy, Was I Wrong

Updated: Jul 2, 2019

A story about ice cream at work.

As the group introduced themselves on the first night of a ten-week course, we learned that he was 32. I’ll call him Hal. He was tall, youthful, good-looking, with a quiet charisma. As the evening progressed, Hal listened intently, then smiled and said thank you as he left.

I thought: He won’t be back.

But return he did, sharing that he was having a problem with an older co-worker named Sandra. She controlled the office with her petulant, whiny, demanding antics. We talked a bit about different coping strategies but, in the end, I suggested that this gal was obviously very unhappy, and as she acted out her unhappiness, her unhappiness increased even more. No doubt, she was blaming others to justify her behavior. I also suggested that Hal start thinking differently about Sandra. I asked him to actually think, “I love you, Sandra, and I forgive you.” He looked at me and nodded his head.

And I thought: There’s no way he’s going to do that.

Again, he proved me wrong, returning week after week for the ten weeks the course was offered. He soon shared that Sandra seemed less grumpy around the office, and he certainly saw her differently than before.

Late in the process, Hal told us that while buying ice cream one day in the office cafeteria, he bought one for Sandra. Not wanting her to know who it was from, he asked a co-worker to give it to her. Sandra did find out, however, and one can only imagine her reaction as, eating her ice cream, she digested the fact that it came from someone to whom she had been anything but kind.

On the last night of the course, as I gave Hal a hug, he told me that he, Sandra, and another co-worker had gone to lunch together that day. I was struck by the fact that such a little act of kindness could so dramatically impact a relationship.

I never did see Hal after that. However, he left me with many gifts, many reminders of the strength of love, and the power of thought. He reminded me that our minds truly are connected at a deep level of awareness.

He reminded me that it’s important to act on the little voice that urges us to forgive and to be kind.

He reminded me that I cannot judge who will (or will not) nurture the seeds that are blown about in the wind of my words (and that the loud, clear voice of judgment is invariably wrong).

He reminded me that we truly are teachers and students to each other and that I teach only what I need to learn.

He reminded me to never underestimate the willingness of others to respond to truth.

They will answer you if you remember to ask only the truth of them. (A Course in Miracles)

He reminded me about the miracles that happen when love is extended simply and honestly.

Thank you, Hal, wherever you are. You are a living example of how changing one’s mind truly changes one’s life.

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