Sometimes you find something on the side of the road that just makes your day.
I picked up a soggy piece of paper near my house the other day, annoyed at the littering and ready only to throw it in the bin.
As I started to crumple the paper I noticed it was a hand written letter. Not wanting to invade anyone’s privacy, I first checked it wasn’t either from or addressed to someone I knew – I thought it might belong to one of the neighbours.
It started with only ‘Dear You’ and ended ‘From Luke’. Now I don’t know anyone nearby whose name is ‘Luke’… or ‘You’ for that matter. But, as it turns out, this random piece of paper, that could just as easily have ended up in the bin, contained a lovely story from ‘Luke’ to a friend that has a message for all of us about seeing beyond ourselves.
It’s not profound or life-changing, or some sort of morality tale…it’s just what happened to one guy on as he caught a train in Melbourne. But the story brought a smile to my face and I just thought ‘Luke’s’ words deserved not to disappear into landfill. So, to ‘Luke’ whoever and wherever you are, here’s the nice story you took the trouble to write to a friend who possibly never read it but who is lucky to have a friend like you.
Imagine a world where we weren’t afraid to acknowledge our initial judgement or our prejudices but had the capacity to overcome them and embrace the difference around us.
At the train station this morning there was a guy pumping out really loud music. He was just playing it on an iPad but he had some kind of special feature that allowed it to play extremely loud. It was as though he was cranking it out from a large ghetto blaster on his shoulders.
I first heard the music as the man approached in the distance – basically the full platform away! I took one look at the guy and figured I knew what was going on there. Sunglasses, cap – I figured he was pumping out some extremely loud Australian hip-hop and wanted to share the experience with the rest of the suburb. I too had my earphones in and was listening to music – The Mountain Goats “All Hail West Texas” and I took my earphones out to focus on the man as he approached.
Either the music he was playing was incredibly loud, or he approached in a gap between Mountain Goats songs as the man just really captured my attention. As I listened a bit more intently I realized I was completely wrong and Aussie hip-hop was not on the playlist. It was something even more foreign to me. Right there on Batman Station at 10am on a Wednesday morning this man was cranking out U.S. country boot-scooting boogie. Mainstream boot-scooting chart music at full ball!
I’d been intrigued at first but this revelation left me disgusted. This was “Bad Music”. My only real reference point for this music was the Billy Ray Cyrus classic “Achy Breaky Heart”. And it really was loud. The track finished and another boot-scootin’ hit followed. The next track was a ballad and he skipped it in favour of one of the more upbeat tracks that seemed to be his thing.
But as my surprise turned to disgust then turned to quiet reflection, I found that involuntarily my fingers started to move. They started to tap on my knee. And then my toes started to move – they started tapping on the station platform. My head started to nod. AND THEN I STARTED TO SMILE!
I smiled at the boot-scootin’ fan, reaching out to share a moment with him. He looked back and continued his hostile Aussie hip-hop fan look, clearly in no mood to waste his time on this boot-scootin’ nobody. But I felt changed. Despite my resistance, the boot-scootin’ boogie had touched my soul. And I was now a different person having let him in.
I’ll speak to you again soon.