Posted by Ronan Scully in Features.

When we allow ourselves to understand the impact our actions have on ourselves, we realise the necessity to take loving action. We each have the power to correct conditions within as well as to affect the world we live in. There are so many ways to apply love in our everyday lives. Yet, if we do not take care of ourselves and one another, it is virtually impossible to feel and share love with the world around us. As an act of self-love, we can begin to educate ourselves and learn to take care of our physical bodies as well as keep our thoughts and feelings positive and loving. Nurturing ourselves also teaches us how to nurture life around us and lend each other a helping hand. I believe in helping others. Whether it is something big or small, I think that one simple act of kindness can make a huge impact.

Take care of one another

A young aid worker named Robert was travelling down a street in Luanda, the capital of Angola in Africa. He was going a bit too fast in his sleek, white jeep, which was only a few months old. He was watching for street kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. Just then, a brick sailed out and wallop, it smashed into the jeep’s shiny white side door, leaving a huge dent. Immediately, he screeched to a stop, slamming on the brakes and gearing into reverse. His tires spun madly, as he brought the jeep back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. Robert jumped out of the jeep, grabbed the street kid and pushed him up against a parked car. He shouted at the street kid, “What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing?” Building up a head of steam, he went on. “That brick you threw is going to cost you a lot of money. Why did you throw it?” “Please, mister, please… I’m sorry! I didn’t know what else to do!” pleaded the street kid. “I threw the brick because no one else would stop!” Tears were dripping down the boy’s face, as he pointed around the parked car. “It’s my brother, mister,” he said. “He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up.”

Sobbing, the boy asked the young aid worker, “Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He’s hurt and he’s too heavy for me.” Moved beyond words, the young aid worker tried desperately to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. Straining, he lifted the young child back into the wheelchair. He took out his handkerchief and wiped the scrapes and cuts, checking to see that the boy was OK. He then watched the young street kid push him down the path toward their home in the shanty area of Luanda. It was a long walk back to the sleek, white, shining, jeep.

Robert never did fix the dent in the side door of his jeep. He kept the dent to remind him, not to go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at him to get his attention and care.

You see, at times in our lives, we tend to become so wrapped up in other things, we become focused on ourselves, our jobs or our hobbies and we do not realise there are others around us that need our help, care and love. We can react in a negative way to a situation without fully realising or taking the time to look at the other person’s situation. You see real acts of kindness or lending a hand are about touching hearts and souls and really caring for one another and in turn touching your own heart and soul and caring for yourself. As the blessing goes, “It is in giving that we truly receive.”

Acts of kindness

Practice constant acts of kindness if you can and you will then bring kindness upon yourself. Forgiveness is the easiest and most powerful act of kindness you can make. Both for you and for others, this activity promotes unity and harmony. Our lives are filled with opportunities to experience love, tolerance, peace and joy. When we, as individuals, realise our potential to love unconditionally, we transform ourselves and one another and the world we live in at the same time. The choice is ours to create a world of joy and happiness, love and goodwill. Every moment of every day is a new beginning. The meaning held in these words opens us to a new way of living and experiencing life. Start each day and each week as a new journey of self discovery. Let go of yesterday and tomorrow and embrace the power of now. Remind yourself daily of the newness of life in the moment and learn to lend each other a helping hand through daily acts of kindness, care and love.

A story about lending a helping hand

Paddy died and passed onto the next life. When he appeared before God, he passed all the questions and was allowed to enter heaven. He thanked God, but before he left for Heaven he made one request—a rather curious one at that. “May I visit Hell to see what it looks like?” The request was granted and Paddy stood at the fiery gates of Hell. The sights and the sounds stirred him to his depths. There was the weeping and wailing that he heard about. But there was something else that he had not heard about. Food lay all over the place in abundance. Despite the evident great supply of food everybody was suffering the agonies of starvation. Paddy was puzzled. Each person held a knife and a fork in their hands. There was plenty of food, so why the starvation? As he observed the plight, Paddy noticed that each one was able to pick up the food with their knives and forks, but were unable to get the food into their mouths because the knives and forks were too long. And the one unalterable rule of Hell was that each person must hold the knives and forks at the very end. This was Hell. Each one was completely centred on his or her own needs and were unable to satisfy themselves.

Then it was time for Paddy to go to heaven and when he got there, there was the joy and glory and happiness that he had heard about. But like Hell there was something in Heaven that he had also not heard about. Here he found a strange similarity to the conditions that prevailed in hell.

There was the same pair of unusually long knives and forks. The exact unalterable rule was in effect, that each one must hold the knife and fork at the very end which again made it impossible for each person to reach their own mouth. But there was one big difference. Each person was feeding their neighbour and each in turn was being fed by their neighbour. This was definitely Heaven. Each person was completely concerned about the needs of their neighbour. In this concern for their neighbour, their own needs were completely satisfied.

Thought for the week

As your thought for the week, have a look at the following poem and if you can put it into action in your life, ‘Heaven is really about been able to lend a helping hand when beautiful hands are those that weave, bright threads of joy in lives that grieve. Beautiful feet are those that run, on errands of mercy from sun to sun. Beautiful lips are those that speak to comfort the mourner and hearten the weak; Beautiful eyes are those that glow with the light of a spirit pure as snow. Beautiful faces are those that seem with the very love of God to beam. Beautiful forms are those that grace with gentle service the lowliest place. Beautiful lives are those that bear for other lives their burden of care. Beautiful souls are those that show The Spirit of God where’re they go.’ You see beautiful love is really about touching others hearts and souls!