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Wednesdays in my neighbourhood is garbage collection day.
Early in the morning, way too early actually – especially in winter when it is cold and dark, we hear the sounds of the ‘recycling guys’ carts rolling down the hill toward our street.
I think that they do a wonderful job and that they are true entrepreneurs in an environment where there is no formal recycling.  They fill their carts with plastic that they often dig out of the bins and then walk a very long trek up hill back to the recycling  yards.
It always upsets me when I see them.  They do us such a great service, protect our environment and all for very little money, probably no thanks and a lot of physical labour.  And that makes me sad.
This Wednesday I went outside early in the morning to leave some cricket bats on the pavement for collection by whoever wanted them.
Let me just point out that the reason we have so many bats is because my kids are probably way too spoiled and they get new sports equipment way too often.  Just because they can.
Anyway, as soon as I took the bats out, I noticed a guy with his cart running towards me.  As soon as he opened his mouth, I realised that he was just a child.  He asked if he could please have all the bats so that he could play with his friends.  I gave them to him and asked if he had a ball. He didn’t and I went inside to get one out of our bag filled with balls.  When I passed the ball to him, I noticed that he had wrapped an old cloth around his hands to keep them warm.  It just broke my heart and I ran back inside to get him a pair of gloves.

There were two lessons in this experience for me, besides having a good cry in my kitchen:
Firstly, I had a week where I was really worried (unnecessarily) about money because I have had so many expenses lately.  We tend to forget how much we really have until we are faced head on with people who have so much less than us.  We shouldn’t have to wait until then to really stop and count our blessings.
Take a few moments everyday to think about what you have rather than what you don’t.  Be grateful for your blessings rather than worry about when you are going to have more.  Your old car may not be as fancy as your friend’s newer model, but it is better than somebody else’s bicycle.  And that person with only a bicycle is better off than somebody who doesn’t have one…
You have so much more than you realise and you are surrounded by countless blessings that you forget to notice.

Secondly, it doesn’t take much to make somebody’s day a lot better.  You can get so much from giving.  I may have given a bat and ball and a pair of gloves but you don’t have to give anything material.  Give a smile, share a laugh.  Wave at somebody in the traffic who looks like they need cheering up.  Hold the elevator doors open for a elderly person or for a person who is in a rush; let somebody in front of you in a queue.  Greet everyone that you meet, even if they don’t greet you back.
You may just find that by cheering somebody else up, you cheer yourself up in the process.

I would love it if you let me know what you did to make a difference this week.