Thursday, 18 March 2010

Little Acts of Kindness

The world is full of kindness, despite the fact that it is the unkindness and the brutal that attracts the headlines in the press and on television. Most people are at heart kind and considerate and it is important I feel, for us to remember this when the headlines scream at us and make us angry or sad, or even murderous. The headlines are manipulative; the editors are playing with our emotions in order to sell their newspapers or TV shows. Their acquisitive, unprincipled nature is being used in its turn by those malevolent beings that do exist in spirit I regret to say. Such beings are ever on the alert for opportunities to spread their own darkness as widely as possible but their ability to do this is limited by the availability of people on Earth willing to blindly do their bidding in return for power, money or both. They cannot act independently, only through the agency of unscrupulous people on earth.

One has only to walk down the street or go shopping almost anywhere in the world to see human kindness in operation. Smile at a stranger and invariably that smile will be returned; ask for help in finding something, someone or somewhere and the person you ask will usually do their best to help you. If you have ever been involved with a tragedy that becomes public knowledge, you will have experienced the inherent kindness in the caring and supportive response of people, even total strangers. I remember being at a conference once where a lady had her money stolen from her handbag in the street. As soon as it became known amongst those at the conference, a spontaneous collection resulted in the replacement of the money and the vast majority of those who contributed did not know the lady concerned.

Look how the internet is used to appeal for help for people suffering in all kinds of ways and the almost overwhelming responses that take place. See the usual response of most people to domestic animals and how upset they become when cruelty or neglect takes place. Check out the countless voluntary organisations all over the world and you will find numerous people working quite anonymously to help others in a thousand different ways. From providing food and shelter to the homeless, to helping young people deal with their first job interview; from setting up and maintaining shelters for those subjected to violence, to singing Christmas carols in the streets to raise funds for worthy causes and to brighten the lives of those listening; from working to provide funds to eradicate such scourges as polio, to visiting elderly people in their homes to provide company, conversation and above all, to listen; from doctors giving a year or more of their lives in order to use their skills in third world countries, to young people who eagerly carry out work such as gardening for the elderly and infirm.

The world is full of love, if only we will look for it and ignore the strident tones of those who never seem to have a kind word to say, or make any allowance for the inherent weaknesses to which we are all prone. Remember those friendly conversations on trains or buses or planes? Conversations with strangers who we will never meet again but who, for the time we are together, share with us their friendliness. True not all are like this; sometimes we can sit beside a stranger on a plane for hours and hardly speak to one another but in my experience that is not so common. Remember also the times you have visited your local general store because you have a problem with something in your home that has stopped functioning properly, and how often the advice you receive goes way beyond your expectations? You may have expected to be sold an article needed to affect a repair but end up with advice that enables you to deal with the problem far more effectively and often with less expense.

There is an old saying, “Love makes the world go around.” It is true in many more ways than we realise and when I feel despair at a particularly barbarous human act, I try to remember all those little, spontaneous acts of kindness that are so numerous, nobody bothers to record them. These are the true measure of humanity and disclose the love which “from our birth, over and around us lies.” We should be of good cheer for love always conquers and even the huge vested interests that seem to dominate in this present age, will inevitably fail as the power of love expands.

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