If you subscribe to Facebook or some of the other social networks you have, no doubt, been moved by watching videos of people helping one another, people helping animals, animals helping people – showing acts of love and compassion that touch the heart.
Are you one of those people? Not the observer – we can all do that with the click of a mouse or a tap of a fingertip. No, I’m talking about being the doer of such acts.
What does it mean to be the doer? I suggest that it entails being moved “before” the act occurs. The heart is moved to do something selfless and totally in the interest of another.
It’s fairly easy to do with those we love. It’s a completely different scenario to go out of one’s way, sidetrack one’s own agenda, to give time, energy … anything … to another without knowledge of their circumstances. Often, we want to know circumstances so we can judge the value of our efforts. But judgment is a slippery slope to apathy.
I was privy to two events of compassionate kindness this week that stopped me short, blessed my heart, and made me have a good, long look in the mirror of my own soul on this issue.
The first occurred last weekend, after a delightful dinner out with my family. We were trudging up a hill to our parked car – a couple of people in our party were lagging behind. Assuming that they were deep in conversation, I was unconcerned, got in the car and then noticed, through the window on the driver’s side, someone pushing a man in a wheelchair up the substantial hill. Everyone piled into the car, except one of my sons, at which point I realized that he was that “someone” who, without a second thought, pushed a homeless man up the hill to a spot where the fellow said he was going to spend the night.
My son got in the car, breathless from the effort, and said, “There was no way the guy would have made it up that hill by himself.”
He did not judge, he did not shun. He was a doer. He acted out of the compassion of his heart.
One of my clients shared the second serendipitous story of unbridled kindness. My client’s friend had been concerned about two puppies that were being neglected in a yard near her house. She approached the owner and gently advised him that the pups needed better care. After some thought, the owner knocked on the friend’s door and asked if she could take the puppies as he realized he couldn’t care for them. Though she was not equipped to care for them herself, she agreed and immediately posted a request for fostering or adoption to her friends on Facebook.
My client happened to check Facebook while spending an evening with two other friends and shared the story with them. Without hesitation, the couple said that they would foster the puppies until good homes could be found for them.
They did not judge, they did not consider time or inconvenience. They were doers, acting out of the compassion of their hearts.
Certainly, some acts of kindness take time and resources. But many take nothing more than a smile, an encouraging word, an arm to lean on, a hand to open a door, a look in the eyes accompanied by a sincere thank you, a dollar from your wallet … or maybe a push up a hill …
A small act of kindness can be spread like jam on toast. Just do it; no judgment. Only a little effort, full of sweetness.