Archived Story

The joy of spontaneity in our community

Published 9:04am Friday, December 21, 2012

Column: Creative Connections, by Sara Aeikens

When I read the newspaper every day about events around our entire world, I sometimes begin to wonder how it’s possible to make just a tiny trivial connection that may bring joy, inspire someone or have a rippling and long-lasting positive effect.

Sara Aeikens

What I do to help this happen includes prayer, meditation and being sure I am around people who tend to be flexible and spontaneous. Lounging in my recovery bed at the Good Samaritan rehab center for three weeks in the fall of 2011 gave me time to contemplate the future and my purpose in living for my last 30 years. Reflecting my renewed joy about just being alive resulted in a decision to practice using my sense of humor more often.

Even though somewhat out of my comfort zone and getting some shocked looks and giggled disbelief from my friends who heard the news, I decided to take a job for several hours a week at the local Pizza Ranch. I inflate and parcel out helium balloons, bus dishes and use my creative mode for sharing some smiles and lots of laughs with customers.

Doing this helps encourage me to pay attention to seemingly significantly small events that come my way, and realize they may also make a large difference in another persons attitude and accomplishments.

For myself I notice it aids me in my living with less possibility of being thinly blanketed with a sense of depression. This comes during a time when I am almost fully recovered from my accident of over a year ago and getting back to a normal routine without medications.

My present daily routine allowed me an opportunity to have a miniscule positive impact. I spend most mornings doing senior exercises both at the Skyline Plaza and the Albert Lea Family Y. This takes me on the east edge of Nelson’s Market Place parking lot.

Just before the exit onto West Main up the viaduct, a faded white faced slightly bent over stop sign greeted autos leaving the lot. I wondered if a suggestion would make a difference and if anyone might care enough to improve a bit the parking lot goodbye message.

Over a few months I talked to a city/county employee about jurisdiction, a mall owner/employee and then finally a grocery store manager. The last person listened and responded within only days, replacing the droopy sign with a straight shiny red one. The message that one can make a difference and asking is OK came through clearly. I was not attached to the outcome, but smile just about each time I see the sign.

Spontaneous connections arise as well. High-definition opera now comes to Albert Lea from the Met in New York. The music and performance highlighted in the “Aida” opera made devoting an entire Saturday afternoon worthwhile.

Just before I left home to attend, I impulsively put a large plastic sparkly snowflake ring in my coat pocket from a decorated cake for a recent local celebration. During intermission, as I talked to a friend recovering from an accident, I noticed her lovely diamond snowflake earrings and matching necklace.

I suddenly remembered my fake diamond ring in my pocket and decided I must part with my plastic treasure, which gave an extra bit of levity to our conversation and “added” to her jewelry collection. These moments aren’t planned. They often unfold as though they were, giving me the gift of an attitude of gratitude.


Sara Aeikens is an Albert Lea resident.