New Year’s Revelation No.2 of 7: Kindness is Contagious

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“No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.”

~ Amelia Earhart

A few weeks ago, while I was waiting for the train at the Metrorail station (here in Miami), I happened to glance down at the outer main platform (one story below, outside of the turnstiles) and what I saw simply made my jaw drop.   There were about fifty or so people, either sitting down on the benches or  mulling about, and an elderly man was walking (alone) on the sidewalk.  No one took notice of him, until he fell.  Very shakily, he tried to stand up and almost succeeded but then his legs gave way and he collapsed in a heap on the ground.  No one — and I mean no one — lifted a hand to help him.  Oh, they certainly gawked at him, but apparently no one wanted to “get involved.”   I started yelling from the station above, but my voice was lost in the noisy rumble of the train that was approaching my station.   Finally, a bus driver sauntered over to the man and helped him to stand.  Luckily, he wasn’t hurt, just shaken.  I shook my head in disgust.  What in the bloody hell is wrong with people?

It never hurts to be kind.  Kindness is like the gift that keeps on giving.  It comes back to us in spades.  Some call that Karma.  I call it Humanity.  The Dalai Lama says it best:

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

Pure and simple.  Kind acts don’t have to be extravagant, nor should there ever be the expectation of reward or recognition.  The man, pictured above, is an example of the most pure and humble act of kindness (and love).  His very old dog suffers from painful arthritis.  He frequently takes his dog out in Lake Superior and the water soothes the dog’s arthritic joints,  relieving him from pain and allowing him to sleep on his “Dad’s” chest.   Strangers from far and wide, having heard of this moving story via the internet, have anonymously paid for vet procedures and more, to help the ailing dog and to relieve the financial worry from his “Dad.”   Now that is kindness in its purest form — anonymous, random acts of kindness.  I encourage you to read the full story.  It is simply inspiring.

Spending the night listening to a troubled friend.  Offering to carry bags of groceries from the supermarket to the car, for someone you don’t even know.  Giving some wildflowers to an elderly stranger sitting on a park bench.  Feeding a hungry stray cat.  The opportunities to show kindness … are simply endless.

I’ll leave you with yet another one of my own personal stories.  It’s about “Lucky” — the name I gave to the baby possum I rescued about a year ago.  In my neighborhood, Friday is the day that we can leave yard clippings out on the road, to be picked up.   My husband and I had done a lot of tree trimming, so we placed the pile out on the Thursday evening.  On the next day, the truck came and picked up all the clippings and I noticed that there was still some yard debris left.  Annoyed, I took my broom and began to sweep.  The truck driver came around again and honked his horn at me.  I looked up and then he pointed (animatedly) at the edge of the road near the sidewalk.  Puzzled, I looked down and then I gasped.  There was a shivering, wet (it had been raining earlier) baby possum, playing dead (as only possums know how to do).  I hadn’t noticed the little fella, because his color blended with that of the road.  I knew that if I left him there, a car would park and the tires would run right over him.  So, I ran into the house and got a plastic container and a sheet of cardboard.  I slipped the plastic container over him and the cardboard under him, lifted him up and brought him into my side garden.  I removed the cardboard and container and watched him for a moment.  I truly thought he was dead. His eyes and mouth were open and he would not move, even though I prodded him gently.  I left him there, amid all the grass and shrubs and then went into the house, to watch him from the window.  After about five minutes, he got up, shook his head (very similar to what my dog, Bacchus does)  and then he grazed on some grass.  After a while he went exploring.  I named him “Lucky” for obvious reasons.  He was so lucky that he didn’t get flattened by a car whose driver wouldn’t have noticed him.  Lucky still lives in my garden.  Very late at night, when I walk around — to make sure that all is well and secure — I sometimes have a chance encounter with my old friend.  He’s not so tiny any more.  I like to think that he remembers my voice (possums don’t have the best eyesight).

It gives me great joy to be kind.   We are all God’s creatures.  It would behoove us to remember that, from time to time.

Lucky (2)

“Lucky” … the day he was rescued

Image (of dog and man) via hypnotistpaulramsay.typepad.com, photo by Hannah Stonehouse Hudson.

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