Over the Easter period, we took time out, headed north and had a holiday break. This provided a wonderful opportunity to sit back, relax and interestingly, to observe people in action.

Our unit was located overlooking the pool and recreation area which is where one of these observations unfolded. On Saturday it rained for most of the day. Usually this is the day that the pool gets worked overtime. One family of young children were huddled under the shelter below us and could be heard bemoaning the bad weather.

Another group of kids were in the pool playing a game that reminded me of my own childhood: They were busy diving under the water and staying under for as long as possible; the idea behind the game is that while you’re under the water you are not getting wet by the rain. Sounds crazy, but it was a lot of fun as I remember it.

That evening we went down for an outdoor spa. We were looking forward to sitting in the warmth of the water and experiencing the patter of the cooler raindrops on our heads. As we were getting out, another couple got in and said that they thought they would follow our example and try out a spa in the rain as it looked pleasurable. Interestingly, as we were heading upstairs, another couple stopped us complaining that their stay was ruined because the spa was out in the rain.

The next morning the surfers and the fishermen seemed unperturbed by the weather and generally in good spirits. Downstairs in the rec room we encountered a bunch of youths and enquired how their day was going? By the look on their faces and their demeanour, we were not surprised at their reply “boring”. Later that day the sun was out and shining. A couple who had just finished a game of tennis passed us by with a big smile on their faces as they greeted us. Just then the group from the morning turned up and when asked about their day, they replied “boring”.

Another day we were joined for lunch by a couple who like us were from the country. They explained how wonderful it was to be experiencing rain as it was still ‘so dry’ in their part of the country. Just behind us was another family where dad was on his mobile complaining that their planned visit to a theme park was put off and having the kids underfoot was driving him bonkers. Our country couple commented that their kids were at the theme park with their cousins and were having a fantastic time and they were missing them.

When near the coast, we absolutely love to walk barefoot on the beach; apart from the enjoyment it is very grounding exercise. We walked daily, regardless of whether it was rain or shine. It was interesting to notice the drop in numbers when it was showering and especially when it was raining.

One particular morning we had been walking when I noticed that hardly anybody had a smile to offer. I also realised that I had been deep in thought and was probably presenting my neutral face. Now that should be OK, but it was then I remembered a story told to me years ago:

“A young man had been presented with the worst that life had to offer, wherever he turned he met with despair. He really had come to the end of his wits. One morning seeing nothing in his future, he decided he would end it all! He made his way to the top of an elevated bridge and was ready to jump. A thought came into his mind; perhaps if he could walk through town and if the first person he met would smile at him, he would reconsider his plight, give life another go and not jump after-all”.  

What if the person he met was you?

Having remembered this story, I made sure I smiled at each person who caught my eye. Not surprisingly many smiles were returned.

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