August 30, 2018, Florida - Alabama, USA
Amazing group, Instructor John Liptak and his group of warriors.
This morning as I walked out of hotel room at the beautiful Hampton Inn I saw a man cleaning the glass windows. He looked happy and friendly and I wanted to say hello. I walked by and continued towards the coffee area.
On the way back I decided to say a big Hi, Good morning. He turned to me and flashed an amazing warm smile and said Hello. We chatted for a few minutes and I said quite forwardly, Sir, you have an amazing smile. Seeing your smile brings joy to the world. You are gifted with a wonderful smile.
We chatted some more and as I continued towards my room I thanked him again for a smile that lights up the world.
My dad always told me to say nice things to strangers. During the week of mourning after his passing my parents house was filled with guests. These included the chief rabbis, the mayor of the town, leading politicians and ...car mechanics, barbers, waitresses at the local coffee shop and postal workers.
Those who came to mourn him included many strangers that my father encountered. He always had something nice to say to them.
I try to follow my father's lead although I am not as successful as him. But something about this humble cleaner struck me and I felt the urge to greet him and thank him for his smile.
When I came back to the room I regretted not asking him for his name, that is what my father would have done. As I left for the day I saw him again and asked him his name, I wanted to put a name to this positive man and his warm glowing smile. His name is Marco.
Marco cleans windows and is happy with life. He said we can end all wars with simple smiles, he said that smiles are contagious. Indeed I believe he is correct.
We often wonder why some people turn out well and others turn out rotten, how some people seem to be born for evil while others are born for good deeds. We wonder.
We ask can anything be done to help the gang member change his ways, and why are others always seeking to help others, to give to the world? How can two human beings follow such different paths?
Indeed the answer is in that word, path. It all depends on the path we choose to follow and the crowd we keep.
The answer has been given by Marco but it was also given thousands of years ago in the Book of Psalms, written by my ancestor King David, the Sweet Singer of Israel.
Praised be the man that has not walked in the path and counsel of the wicked, and in the path of the transgressors he did not stand, and in the company of the scoffers he did not sit. (Psalms, chapter 1)
אַשְׁרֵי הָאִישׁ-- אֲשֶׁר לֹא הָלַךְ, בַּעֲצַת רְשָׁעִים
וּבְדֶרֶךְ חַטָּאִים, לֹא עָמָד, וּבְמוֹשַׁב לֵצִים, לֹא יָשָׁב.
The company we choose to keep, the path we choose to follow, makes all the difference. Once we choose our desired path we must choose the right crowd. As Marco said, smiles and good energy are contagious, sadly the same is true of bad energy.
If you choose the path of self defense, of honor, of protecting others, of Krav Maga, it would be best to mingle with others of similar views who will encourage rather than discourage us. If everyone is going to train, you will go to train. If everyone is discussing self defense and getting excited about it you will feel excited about it.
Choose a good path, choose a good crowd and the goodness will be contagious.