This I Believe

Meg - Prairie Grove, Arkansas
Entered on July 17, 2006

The Kindness of Strangers

When I was a young girl the thought of becoming a teenager really frightened me. So as any good Catholic girl would do I went to church to pray. I went to St. Paul’s Cathedral in Worcester, MA, the church were my father went as a child. My hope was of course that God would tell me that all would be well. But that is not exactly what happened. While I was praying and crying a very kind and elderly gentleman came over to kneel with me as he put his hand over mine he said in a wonderful Irish brogue; remember that nothing lasts forever that the fear and pain that you feel now will go but the love that your family and that God has for you will never end. He squeezed my hand and left. I have always remembered this man and what he said to me, as a matter of fact my mantra has become ‘Nothing lasts forever.’ As I grew older and my world expanded beyond Worcester. I encountered more strangers that had a positive impact on my life, the strong and powerful women who stopped their car late one night and asked if I needed help when two men were harassing me while I waited for the bus to take me home. The men ran away and these wonderful women drove me home which was miles away from where they were going. This act taught me never to walk, run or drive by someone in need. And later in my life when my father had passed away and I lived thousands of miles away and waited at the airport for a flight to take me back to Massachusetts. All planes had been grounded due to torrential rain and I was becoming frantic for the funeral was the next day. From the people who worked for the airlines to the woman who tried to sooth my anxiousness the kindness of strangers helped me once again.

In this day where there are television programs that encourage meanness from Survivor to American Idol where it is considered entertainment to humble and ignore people and world leaders refer to anyone they do not like as murderers or the axis of evil while this meanness of spirit seems to be spreading. I believe in people and in the innate goodness of people. This I believe: in the kindness of strangers.