That’s the Way Rumors Get Started

This morning at the church service attended mainly by those living on the streets, one of the guys told me about two recent incidents when he’d been told he was an inspiration. He began the story by saying, “I’m not telling you this to to be bragging.”

I’ve known him for about a year and a half. He wasn’t telling me to be bragging. He was sharing this development because such amazing moments require acknowledgement and respect.

To be minding your own business, going about doing what you feel you’re supposed to be doing, and to have someone tell you your action—or the very example of your life—helped them make a life-changing decision: how wonderful is that? Not only did you have an impact, but the person cared enough to take the time to tell you. In the sharing of such moments I can’t help but detect a certain amount of awe: can you believe I was lucky enough to impact another person in a good way?

Yes, if you’re a first grade teacher or a parent. For the rest of us, it’s a little surprising.

I know the feeling because in the last week, when three members of writing group had the chance to name someone whom they admire or who had a positive impact on their lives, they named me.

I am not someone who hears compliments well. I shrug them off, if they even penetrate my brain. Sometimes I think: well, they probably felt sorry for me and thought I needed a pick-me-up (don’t analyze my psychological (ill) health—it’s shooting fish in a barrel.)

The point is: the third time someone from writing group took the time to claim my influence on them, I heard it. I heard them say I was loyal and nonjudgmental and quietly assertive (how Southern is that?) and a follower of God and (hallelujah!) funny.

I share this with you with the same awe I saw in my friend’s eyes this morning. Damn, he seemed to be saying, isn’t this the coolest thing?

Yes, yes it is.

book by homeless authors, homelesness, homeless, homeless art, homeless church service, homeless writing group, homelessness and the arts, Writing, writing group

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