I developed from being naive and oblivious only to become paranoid and frightened. That summed up my earliest childhood, before being bullied by local thugs who worked for my dad and decided to take out their frustrations with him on me. But those ugly and early experiences have been followed by a good life with good people. A life that has led me to be cautious but trusting. Especially considering the way I have felt recently about the world, our country, and my place in them.
One thing I am certain of, there’s always room for kindness. Once I reached the higher realization–that people are essentially good–I knew I was finally maturing.
Recently when returning from vacation in central coastal California, I was walking on the Pier at Santa Barbara. I tripped (hysterically enough it was on a speed bump. I hate them – they hate me) and slammed down hard on the dirty, wooden planks. It knocked the breath out of me and ripped up my knees and right hand I had instinctively used to break the fall. Sprawled on the deck, the first thing I heard was male voices saying, “are you ok?” Two complete strangers stopped and looked AT me, rather than away. After assurances I was not badly damaged they asked if they could help in any way. I was in a slight state of shock so I just said no I’m OK. They said, “do you want us to help you get up?” I said, “Oh yes definitely.”
About that same time, an employee from the maintenance department arrived on the scene saying he had witnessed my fall and asked if I needed bandages or “help with splinters.” That’s when I realized I was covered in black slivers of the rough-hewn planks. God knows what kinds of things have driven, walked, spat, urinated, or worse on that dirty old wood. I thanked the helpful passersby and followed the employee to his workplace where he brought out a simple first aid kit and proceeded to pull eight or nine good sized chunks out and bandage up the bleeding knee and palms. *Side note: in this litigious atmosphere I’m amazed this guy didn’t get fired for helping me. Thank goodness there was still some common sense at that place.)
So when you “just check in to see what condition your condition is in” (thank you Kenny Rogers), look for the good. And help it along by being kind. It may not change the world but it can’t hurt. Certainly not as much as my ribs do from the fall.
When asked how to talk to children about the 9/11 tragedy, Mr. Rogers said, “Tell them what my mother always told me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
→The mission of Ben’s Bells, a wonderful non-profit project that originated in Tucson, AZ I support and recommend highly, is to inspire individuals and communities to engage in kindness education and practice.
Read the history of this amazing group, HERE. Thanks for being kind, Bobby Rich