Kindness Begets Kindness
After a complex surgery, my friend couldn’t stand or walk. Confined to a wheelchair, he needed a Transport Van to get him from his home to the outpatient clinic, for physical therapy. All of the drivers picked him up in his driveway, and dropped him off in the clinic’s driveway, then reversed the process for the return trip home.
Except one driver. That driver would wheel him from his home to the van, and then from the van, into the clinic, to the Reception Desk. When my friend was finished with his therapy, the driver would come into the clinic and wheel my friend into the van. After the ride home, that driver wheeled him from the van into his home, rain or shine.
One day, this kind driver seemed unusually troubled. He still performed all of his extra acts of kindness without complaint. But the driver’s heightened distress was palpable. My friend felt compelled to share some pertinent poetic verses, along with a familiar “Blessing” to assuage his anxiety.
One poetic verse was from Kipling: “If you meet with Triumph or Disaster, treat those two imposters just the same.”
The other, was Emerson’s verse about “Success”: “Success is to laugh often and much. To earn the respect of intelligent people, and the affection of children. And to know, that even one life breathed easier because you lived.”
My friend told the driver, “You clearly made my life breathe easier. You certainly are a success.”
My friend also told the driver that he deserved a “Blessing” for all of his acts of kindness:
“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm on your face, and the rain fall soft on your fields.
And for the rest of your personal & professional life,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.”
With a wide smile and tears in his eyes, the driver said, “Thanks. I really needed that today. I am a recovering alcoholic, and some days are harder than others. That helps a lot.”
When they met 3 weeks later, their mutual smiles were enough said. My friend handed the driver an envelope. Inside the envelope were the “Words to Live By” that my friend had given to his 4 children upon their graduation from High School & College, as a gyroscope for their lives.
There is a genuine, rock-solid, Cosmic Communion of Souls that whisper to each other to fill the holes in our hearts. Some call it, “Random Acts of Kindness”. Others call it the “Grace of God”, flowing from one broken vessel to support another. Whatever it is, it makes other lives breathe easier.
Kindness begets kindness. The world would be a better place if that were second nature to us all.