“Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.”
— Dennis Wholey
On Saturday, my daughter and I made a couple meals for a friend. He and his wife are the parents of two grown, developmentally disabled boys. His wife is doing well, but still recovering from a stroke and sadly, his daughter has been hospitalized with congestive heart failure. He’s a very nice man and they appreciated the lasagnas we brought. While I was happy that we could help in a small way, I always try to remember that giving my time and being kind doesn’t stop bad things from happening.
Today, I was reminded of this.
I got an email from my friend. His daughter passed away yesterday.
I’m not sure how long I read and reread that email. Perhaps seconds, perhaps minutes. I just kept thinking about the cruelty of it all. Some people have everything, and some have none. Some suffer many losses, some none. It’s impossible to know why.
Maybe, in the end, it doesn’t matter why. It’s what we do after the disaster that matters. It’s what we do to try to give people a fighting chance in spite of the imbalance. It’s what each of us do, everyday, to help each other. It’s the little things that really matter.
That’s simplistic and naive. I know that.
I also know that at our Toastmasters’ meeting today, when word got around of our friend’s loss, a collection was taken and without anyone batting an eye, a large amount of cash was raised for a gift for them. It was a small gesture, a little thing. From a few friends to another.
Giving time, being kind, doing good deeds, and helping each other – none of it is insurance or insulation against bad things happening. It never has been and it never will be.
Yet, giving time, being kind, doing good deeds, and helping each other – they have a different value. They help define us and shape us into the kind of people who we want to be. The kind of people that we want to wake up with every morning and go to sleep with every night. The kind of people that recognize that ‘helping’ is more than just a word. The kind of people who help because they recognize they are part of a larger community. The kind of people who want to do better, no matter how unfair life is.
Today, yet again, life wasn’t fair for our friend. He’s a good man, with a good family, with a good character. He’ll always have that.
I just hope that he knows that he’ll always have friends, too.
Today’s gift of time … A small part of a larger contribution to a friend who’s hurting.