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How We Carry Each Other

Can small acts of kindness change the world? Beliefnet users share their stories.

Like ripples circling outward in a pond, individual acts of kindness, taken together, can have world-changing effects. We asked Beliefnet users to describe the most profound act of kindness they ever experienced, witnessed--or did for another person. We've gathered some of the most moving ones to inspire us all to do a little something more.

Helping a Homeless Person

The one act of kindness that always touches my heart (whether I do it or I see it) is when someone helps out the homeless. I'm not talking about giving money to them either. I'm talking about picking them up and taking them to a shelter, giving them food instead of money on the train...or even talking to someone homeless.

What most people don't understand about the homeless is that they have their pride. A lot of them don't want help. But all of them want to be heard. They want to feel like a human being and sometimes just talking to a homeless person makes a world of difference. I have been witness to a man that would talk to a homeless man for a year...just small talk...but that was enough for the homeless person to be inspired to get up and get himself together.

--Andrea Downes

Being Your Brother's Keeper

The most profound act of kindness I've ever witnessed is one that I received. I spent many years experiencing the consequences of my own actions. I was an active drug addict, a thief, a liar, and a fool. During this time I caused so many people, which loved me, harm. My family, I'm sure, was affected the most. Due to my choices and my actions, I went to jail, and almost went to prison. The court system gave me one last chance. I was let out on the streets with no where to go, so I turned to my brother. Everyone told him not to trust me; that I would only do what I had always done. My brother said, "He's my brother and I love him...if I don't help him, who will?" Since that day my life has changed. I've been clean off of drugs for 3 years; have an excellent job working with good people, and better relationships with people than I've ever had. That one act of kindness from my brother changed my life.

--Jason K. Wells

Reassuring a Child

One evening [12 years ago] while at the arcade [playing Mortal Kombat] with a friend I noticed a situation at the baseball simulator....I saw the arcade attendant holding his head and the little boy clearly upset. The boy had accidentally hit the attendant in the head with his swing. As the boy, feeling guilty for causing the attendant pain, began to cry the arcade attendant moved in and gave him a hug as if to say "See, I am okay, don't be upset." Suddenly, decapitating my opponent [in Mortal Kombat] on quarters I stole from my sister did not seem very important.

The attendant was hurt, had every reason to get mad, and could have scolded the child for being so clumsy. But he didn't. Instead, he set his own pain aside to comfort the child without showing any displeasure. It is difficult to describe how much this moment struck me. The arcade looked different and my skin tingled in an unusual way. As I recall it now I struggle to hold back tears. I was thirteen at the time....

It goes to show how much doing the right thing can impact people even if we do not ever see the results of our good will.

--Paul Garrison

Giving What You Have

The most profound act of kindness ever received by me happened as a child and reminds me as an adult how I should live. A neighbor girl, my friend, lived in very poor circumstances due to a father that drank and a mother who was always pregnant with another of the many children he created.

One day, she offered to me a slice of bread, with some lard and a very precious commodity, rarely seen in her house...sugar. It was all she had, yet she offered it to me with a smile. I have never tasted anything better since.

--dakarai raizel

Comforting a Stranger

When I was 17 my aunt was in a horse-riding accident and went into a coma. My mother flew on an airplane to be with her sister and her family. While en route my mother learned that her sister had died. My mother was terribly distraught with grief, and the woman next to her on the plane, whom she did not know, held her hand the whole way. My mother never knew her name, but often told that story of how that kindness got her through one of the most painful moments of her life.

--Shannon McHone

Coming to the Rescue

On Christmas evening 1996, we were on our way home from my cousin's house. I was pregnant with my youngest daughter and my two older daughters at the time were 9 and 4. The weather was terrible, the snow was coming down fast and thick...The cars in front of us were swerving out of control, my husband trying to avoid the cars pressed on the brakes and went out of control also. Someone coming out of the toll booth at a higher rate of speed broadsided into the driver side of the car, we spun out of control and crashed into the highway divider.

My husband was unconscious, my older daughter was just staring blindly ahead of her. My heart stopped thinking she may be dead. People stopped to help us. My husband was taken to the hospital separately from us. I didn't know what happened or where they were taking him. My daughter was in shock. I was hysterical.

A family of Middle Eastern descent stopped their car to help us, when I realized that my younger child wasn't with us. In the chaos someone else had stopped and had picked up my daughter and walked off with her. I started to yell for my baby, and the people that stopped to help us ran to get her. They brought her to me safely and held our hands until another ambulance could come for us.

In our moment of terror these kind people sat and prayed with me for my husband, for my children and for my unborn baby. I thank God for them, I think about them often and wish I could see them again some day so that I could properly thank them.

--estelle

Being a Friend

One particular week, when my son was in 9th grade, I repeatedly had teachers come up to me to tell me how wonderful my son was. Well, I knew he was a good kid, but...come on, not THAT good! I finally asked what he had done and was told that at the school dance, everyone seemed to be dancing and having a great time, except for a 9th grade girl, who had (I think) cerebral palsy and was confined to a wheelchair.

My son proceeded to ask her to dance and when she said she couldn't, he grabbed her wheelchair and off they went onto the dance floor. I heard from her guardian, later, that she talked about what a great time she had at that dance for months. I thought my heart was going to burst when I was told about this.

--apotter

Doing Little Things Every Day

I work with people who struggle. I'll bring in a plate of food for someone for their lunch. I'll buy one of the young guys a soda or bring in extra bottles of water from home. I just fixed enchiladas this evening and took a pan to the couple across the street. I try to do some little something every day. My kids have started to do it too. Nothing huge, but something to make someone less fortunate feel better about themselves and the world.

--Tmarie64
Going the Extra Mile

I work in a medical daycare center and our clients are elderly people who are medically fragile and often live alone with minimal financial resources. One of our clients had suffered a stroke and depends on a cane and a leg brace to ambulate. She can be very demanding and is often non-compliant with her doctor's prescribed care. Our staff recognizes that her demeanor is a result of living alone with her physical limitations. We do our best to provide the TLC that she deserves but we often feel frustrated.

On one Friday, this client was tearful because the strap that secures her leg brace had broken off. Her big fear is falling and the brace was not secured enough to prevent a fall. I made several calls but was unable to get the brace repaired or replaced in time for the weekend. I consulted with another employee to see what we could do. This employee has been going through many personal and medical problems of her own and the week had been very stressful for her. But when I explained our client's dilemma, this employee developed a sense of calm and devised a plan to help our client. What I witnessed next was nothing short of beautiful.

This employee, who was born with only one hand, proceeded to prepare the sewing machine and within the next hour had fixed the brace with a strap that was very secure. To watch her threading the needles, cutting the materials and positioning the brace was truly a labor of love. This employee understands all too well what it is like to live with a handicap. She could have said we'll take care of it next week, but she forgot about her own troubles and ministered to this client.

I was a witness to a selfless act and true kindness. We all felt blessed that day and this client went home secure in the knowledge that she is not alone, but part of a family that cares for her.

--Joyce Bennett

Listening to Each Others' Stories

The tolerance, love and kindness I have witnessed and received on a continual basis over the last six years of my life has come from the strangest place. I found this place when I was on the verge of suicide; I hated myself, my life and the whole human race. I thought there was no loving kindness to be found anywhere in the world. I entered a room full of strangers and listened to their stories. I am consistently amazed by the generosity I receive from people I have just met there. I found hope for a better life. These wonderful people loved me until I learned to love myself. A few of these strangers have become my closest friends.

I am not unique in my discovery. Everyday, in thousands upon thousands of locations world wide, people gather to help one another. There are lawyers, waitresses, doctors and janitors. There are Catholics, Baptists, Buddhists and agnostics. There are no dues or fees for membership. No political or religious affiliations. Every person is welcomed with open arms and hearts.

This kindness, love, generosity is available to everyone who seeks it out. I found it through a Twelve Step program.

--Stephanie


http://www.beliefnet.com/gallery/actsofkindness.html?pgIndex=0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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