“If I can help somebody as I pass along then my living shall not be in vain.”
These lines are from a well-known song and surely we all want to think that when our life ends it has not been lived in vain? Not everyone has been born with a gift or talent which will enhance the lives of others but we can all do little acts of kindness which will be remembered with gratitude.
I remember with gratitude the colleague who was kind to me that first day in my new job. The elderly male neighbour who taught me so much when I bought my first computer. Over the years I can remember remarks such as “I can recommend a good joiner”, “Don’t bother buying one, I’ve got one you can have” “Have you tried this for the pain?” Yes indeed I have experienced many small acts of kindness in my life and each one has made me determined to do my bit for others.
As we regard the state of our world today we feel helpless to put things right. We can’t rush off to the other side of the world to aid the refugee crisis, feed the hungry, rescue earthquake victims and others suffering from natural disasters. So what can we do to make the world a better place? Well, we can do what we can to ease the burdens of those who live in our own little corner of the world. As the old hymn puts it “Brighten the corner where you are.” We can endeavour to “Lend a hand” which was our childhood Brownie motto. We should try to bring a bit of sunshine into the lives of those around us, to take away loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted and unneeded. Welcome the new neighbour no doubt feeling a bit strange in the new environment. Let us not forget our feathered friends and make sure they always have food and water especially in the inclement weather.
We all give money to charity but it is the personal touch which counts for so much more. I sent a holiday postcard to someone who later told me it had brightened her whole day. My day has been brightened by someone handing in some home baking. Then there is the unexpected invitation “Would you like to come with me to..” and the hospital visitor you did not expect with a little gift of toiletries. The offer to run someone to a supermarket can save two or three journeys to the local shop carrying heavy bags. I remember being so grateful to a fellow traveller who helped me with my suitcase, the person whom I asked for directions and who went out of her way to take me to my destination, the supermarket queue when I was holding only one or two items and the customer in front said “you can go before me.” There are so many random acts of kindness which we experience every day that maybe we just forget them. Let us all try and contribute to this pool of kindness. Don’t remove from your Christmas card list the former neighbour who perhaps does not get many cards, visit an elderly acquaintance in the nursing home, be generous in offering car lifts to others (many are too proud to ask) and offer to accompany someone for a hospital consultation. We should remember that we teach by example and others watching us may well learn to behave in a similar kindly fashion.
As a Spiritualist I remember that my every deed is recorded in the Book of Life. I do so want my pluses to be more than my minuses! What does the Bible tell us about kindness? When Jesus was asked the question “Who is my neighbour?” he told the story of the “Good Samaritan” who performed the ultimate act of kindness and which has come down through history. Now the very word “Samaritan” has become synonymous with a person who does a kind action. The Bible also tells us that when we do a kindness to others we are doing this kindness to God. ”Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me.” [Matt 25:40]. How we treat others is how we treat God.
Let us all do what we can to make our world a better place to live in.
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