This I Believe

Christin - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 21, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Sitting in the annex of the library, I was on the phone with my mother, telling her how I was losing faith in people. I explained that it seemed to me that people had lost sight of the art of the random act of kindness. “Whatever happened to taking the higher road?” I asked her. It started consuming me, ‘was I the only raised this way, who was taught to show kindness to strangers and taught to do good even when you may not be the beneficiary of the deed’? I always imagined the human race to be a compassionate bunch, looking out for one another and moving forward together; instead of fighting for what is his or her own, fighting for what is wrong or what is right. In the state of emotional wreckage I looked up to see a middle-aged man passing me, he looked down at my wet face and bloodshot eyes and simply asked, “Are you okay?” I put on a smile and nodded, saying “Yes, yes thank you, I’m really fine.” He hesitantly left this sad girl sitting on a bench in the library crying to her mother hundreds of miles away. Initially, I thought nothing much of the act, for I would do the same thing too if I saw someone so upset, all by herself, crying in public on the first floor of the library. I continued talking for few more minutes when I looked up and saw the man again, this time with a simple box of tissues. He walked over to me and said, “Here, take more than one.” I looked up at this face, at this stranger who has a million of his own problems, situations, worries, and to-do lists. On the contrary, he took time out to comfort a stranger in a time of need. He saw a small problem in the world that he could fix himself and took the initiative to do so. I gratefully accepted the tissues, and he simply smiled and turned away; back to his life, his things to do. As my mother comforted me, and the tissues wiped away my tears and black mascara, this kindness shown by a stranger put my whole world back into perspective. Yes, people care about people; I believe that. You may have to look harder, dig deeper, and reach higher to find them some days, some months, some years; but they are there. Do not be blind to the beauty of everyday acts of kindness, because they are all around us. Rather believe in the power of compassion and kindness. When you feel their presence is dimming in the light of the present moment, work harder to fix what you can, and give more than you have to. The circle created is one that continues to give back to us and continues to give us hope when we need it most.