THE SYMMETRY OF KINDNESS

The train slammed into the station, injuring hundreds. The engineer was critically hurt. People toppled over each other, bouncing across seats and against windows. There was blood and glass everywhere. One woman shimmied her way to the platform when part of the station ceiling fell, pinning her. She thought she would die. Then the hands of fellow passengers lifted her, one to another, and she was saved. Later, she wanted to say thank you but didn’t know who to thank. Once on the mend, she retrieved a list of those who were with her that day. Now, one by one, she looks them up, asking if they had helped her. Each of them smiles and says no. Once with them, she can see what each needs, and so she helps them along. She unpacks groceries for an old woman, listens to a widower’s story, and gives a single mom her umbrella. This has gone on for weeks. She keeps trying to find those who helped her, only to help those she finds. Finally, it occurs to her that this is God’s symmetry of kindness. She will never know who helped her, so she can thank and help everyone she meets along the way.

Source: Mark Nepo,
Things That Join the Sea and the Sky: Field Notes on Living 
(Sounds True,  2017) page 113

CONSIDER THIS

Describe a time when you were drawn into helping others and what you learned from those you helped.

ASKING FOR A PUSH

It’s 3 a.m. and Maurice and Golda are woken up by a loud banging on their front door. Mamice gets up and opens the door to a drunken stranger standing in the pouring rain. “Can I have a push?” says the drunk.

“No you can’t,” says Maurice, “it’s three o’clock in the moming. Please go away, you’ll wake the children.”

Maurice shuts the door and goes back to bed.

“Who was that?” asks Golda.

“Just some drunk, dear, asking for a push,” Maurice replies.

“So did you help him?” Golda asks.

“No I didn’t. It’s 3 a.m. and it’s pouring rain,” replies Maurice.

Golda says, “Shame on you, Maurice. Have you already forgotten when our car broke down about six months ago and those two men helped us? I think you should help the man outside.”

So Maurice reluctantly does as he is told. He gets dressed, goes out into the pouring rain and calls out, “Hello, are you still there?”

“Yes,” comes back the answer.

“Do you still need a push?” Maurice shouts.

“Yes, please!” comes the reply from the dark.

“So where are you?” asks Maurice.

“Over here on the swing,” replies the drunk.

Source | David Minkoff,   Jewish Jokes: A Clever Kosher Compilation

PONDER AND CONSIDER

People will continue to need a push in life from time to time. We may resist at first, making all kinds of excuses. We may give the push for the wrong reason or because we have received a push from someone else ourselves. And when we do in fact decide to go and offer a helping hand we may discover we have been taken for a ride! Then what?

  • What motivates you to help others?