Do you remember a time when you helped another person for absolutely no reason? Or a time when a total stranger did something nice for you? How did it feel? Great? Odd? Wonderful?
Usually it is easy to be kind and compassionate towards people that you like. You are nice to them and they are nice back to you. Most of us exchange this type of kindness every single day, when we ask a friend how their family members are doing, when we offer to help a co-worker with their project, when we make a donation to our church.
This is not the kindness I am talking about. I mean real spontaneous kindness towards people that you might not even like.
Yesterday I was taking a stroll in the old city center. A tall nicely dressed man in his forties was walking in front of me. What got my attention was not the man, but the huge box of hand-made Belgian chocolates that he was carrying in his hand. A friend had once brought me a smaller box of these chocolates from Luxemburg and they were absolutely delicious. But unfortunately, I could not find them in the local grocery stores. I was just wondering, where he had bought them, when my “voracious” thoughts were distracted by screams and swearing coming from an old woman, sitting on the steps of the church.
Her clothes were dirty and her face was red from fury and probably years of drinking. She had a small plate with a few coins in it that she managed to collect that morning. People walking by were glancing and turning their faces, looking embarrassed, disapproving and even disgusted.
Suddenly the man, who was ahead of me, walked right up to the old woman and placed the box of chocolates right in her lap and then without saying a word walked away as if nothing had happened.
The woman went silent. She looked at the box, confused. She slowly shook it, probably to make sure that it is not a cruel joke. With shaky hands she carefully opened the box and grabbed one of the exquisitely crafted chocolates. And then something magical happened.
She said “Thank you!” to no one in particular and smiled with a smile that completely transformed her face. She was no longer an old drunken lady. She was someone worthy of this beautiful gift!
This incident has made me think how fast we judge people by their looks and behavior and how often we decide who deserve our kindness and who will have to go without it. Guess what? Those who look unworthy or behave rudely are the ones, who need our compassion and understanding the most.
A lot of people talk about changing the world and making it a better place. But any serious world change starts with a change in Your perception, Your actions, Your attitude, and Your priorities.
I recently heard a quote, “No single drop of water thinks it is responsible for the flood.” Similar, none of us believes that we are responsible for poverty, air pollution, bad government , economical problems or the high rate of depression. We are just tiny drops in the ocean of six billion people. And maybe we cannot resolve these global problems but, believe me, any little effort that we make to spread kindness, compassion, and love counts.
Sometimes “to be the change that you want to see in the world” you do not have to be loud. You do not have to be famous. You do not have to be a smooth talker. You do not have to be elected. You do not have to be charismatic. You just have to be committed.
What are your thoughts? 🙂