My first crush in life was in grade 3(and 4&5). Her name was Monica Marvel, a name more suited to a super hero than a mortal girl in grade 3. I remember her clearly. Long curly strawberry blond hair, brown eyes, roundish face. She never really spoke to me. This was the 70's, the age of the cooties, and if there was a kid with the cooties back then, it was pretty much me(or so they told me). There was this other kid in grade school. Pancho, he was my personal bully. He would pin me in the snow, very freaky for a kid with claustrophobia, and take any desserts that I may have had packed in my lunch. How about 1 more for good measure. Little Nigel, a kid with a constant runny nose, who had his own bullies to deal with. I remember one day Nigel crying and yelling at his tormentors "God will punish you for the way you treat me!" Poor kid.
These are just 3 of the hundreds, or thousands of people, who don't even know that i was born, but that when things are quiet, and my mind wonders, sometimes their faces pop up.
Fast forward to today. I work a lot of nights. I take the bus home in the morning, and there is this man who is very slightly mentally challenged. At 7:30 in the morning, everyone is grumbling, and holding on to their coffees like a life preserver in the sea of the morning shuffle. This guy however, is just the happiest guy on earth. He talks to everyone. Everyday, I let him board the bus before me and he says "Thank You sir"(he's my age). I listen sometimes as he talks to those around him, because his joy is contagious. A week went by once and he wasn't around. I had started to wonder if anything had happened to him. Then he was back, and I listened as he explained to the bus driver that he had been taking a later bus, to sleep in an extra half an hour. The driver, did not even pretend to be remotely interested. I however was glad that he chose to start getting up earlier so that he was on my bus again.
Why this trip down nostalgia lane? These people have no idea, that they have influenced me, or that I think of them. Little Nigel has no idea that my heart still breaks for that little kid with the runny nose, who tried to take a stand to his oppressors. Or that i wish that I had helped the little dude out. Mr. Happy on the bus does not have a clue that I look forward to him being on the bus in the morning. So the question is, Who do you think of? Who are some of the people who don't know you, who have made their way into the corners of your mind? When you think of that, the even more important question is..... Who thinks of you? Make no mistake, as we have, a plethora of faces and people locked in our minds, others have us.
It's sometimes easy to feel alone and that we don't matter. Sometimes the ones who were supposed to love us the most, leave us for "greener pastures" Or hurt us physically and emotionally. Sometimes our friends are busy with their own lives. The ones we care about may be far away, and we wish they were closer. Whatever the circumstance, we find ourselves alone. We might wonder who would notice if we just disappeared, not unlike George Bailey in "Its a Wonderful Life". Just like George Bailey though, our sphere of influence goes far and wide, beyond what we can possibly imagine. Our families, friends, and even that nameless person at the grocery store that just likes seeing us come in and shop. We are so important to so many people. It really is easier to feel alone and lonely than to even begin to comprehend the scope of our importance to the world around us. If we disappeared tomorrow, would the world stop spinning? No, but from the mightiest king to the humblest of us, the world would be poorer for the loss.
Today, I am grateful for the many, many people who are important in my life. I am also incredibly grateful for those who, whether I know them or not, feel that I am important in theirs.