We have a new video doorbell that allows us to see who approaches our house. For the first few days, I really liked watching who had come to the door while we were away, noticing where my packages were placed and screening visitors to decide whether to open the door (or not). Pretty soon, I had lots of video clips of people who rang my doorbell, but my interest in studying each video had waned. Today, I was alerted that I needed to delete some files because my video storage was full.

While deleting files one by one, I noticed one showing a man leaning over the planter next to our front door. “What is this?” I thought suspiciously. “Who is this stranger snooping in our planter? Maybe he’s hoping we left a spare key hidden in the dirt. Perhaps I should be monitoring this more closely!” 

I played the clip from the beginning. It started out innocently enough. The man was delivering a package. He rang the doorbell, holding the package under his arm. When we didn’t answer the door, he placed the package between the door and the planter. Then he turned around, looking as if he were headed back toward his truck. Suddenly, as if forgetting something, the man looked back toward our door and took a few steps toward it. His face leaned down near our planter. Even though this video was grainy, I could clearly see the man’s expression.

I watched the man smile as he gently touched one of the delicate gardenia flowers in the planter. He closed his eyes, smelled the fragrant white flower for a moment, then turned and walked away.

A smile spread across my face as I watched him. It was a beautiful moment capturing someone who took an extra second to notice and appreciate the small joys of life. We all might benefit from stopping to smell the flowers a little more.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.