Had enough of the negativity and the ugliness that is popping up everywhere? Do you believe that the world is on the brink of an apocalypse? Do you really think that all the good is gone and only dark days lie ahead of us? Then this one is for you.
In the midst of death, despair and devastating loss, I’ve seen ordinary people do extraordinary things. Now it’s easy to open your heart and show kindness to less fortunate folks when everything is going swimmingly well in your life. However, it takes a different kind of heart to shift the focus from personal suffering to empathy with the plight of another.
A friend’s friend, who is recovering from a serious illness with prolonged complications, is constantly in pain and sometimes unable to perform day-to-day activities. In the midst of her health crisis, she managed to rescue two injured cats and even opened her home to a dog recovering from surgery. Mind you, she already takes care of five cats and an ailing relative. She truly has a big heart and is a blessing to everyone she cares for.
When my parents returned to Chennai after a visit to Sweden, their house help quit due to ill-health. Luckily, my mom encountered a lady who used to work for my grandma before relocating to another state. She couldn’t afford the rent to live on her own and her step-son asked her to vacate his home under the pretext of renovation. Being a widow, she is entitled to the widow’s pension granted by the state government but due to some technicality she was denied even that. To make ends meet, she decided to work for my mom. She found a temporary place to stay and was provided two meals a day. My mom packed breakfast for her in the morning and also gave her a cup of tea and snacks in the evening.
All was well until the landlady started acting up after a couple of months. She made it abundantly clear that she wanted our house help to leave. In her retirement years instead of living a quiet life with a roof over her head and enough dough to sustain her, here she was homeless and forced to earn her living. My parents then decided to let her stay with them.
Recently another lady who worked for the family once and is now unemployed showed up and my mom took her in as well. She now cooks for my parents. They really don’t need two people to help out around the house but they couldn’t turn her away because she has to support her family.
When we relocated from Chennai to the US, I was surprised when my mother-in-law offered to feed our kitten – the one we had to leave behind. We had raised it as an outdoor cat although we fed it a few times a day. She knew how to hunt for lizards and mice so we resigned ourselves to the fact that she could survive without us. But the fact that we may never see her again after we left for the U.S. broke our hearts. Seeing how distraught the kids were, their grandma decided to do the least she could do to make the kitten feel safe and loved.
Then there are some brave souls who are in a vortex of adversity and still look out for others. A friend of mine suffered a loss, was sick and had to fend for herself through endless paperwork. She still found time to call and check on me and give me hope during what was a very dark year for me. There are so many people who are extending little gifts of generosity, time and effort to others without hoping for anything in return.
So is there still hope for this world? I’d say YES! It may not be obvious and it may not be breaking news but in small ways, the community of kindness and of big hearts is showing us that love is alive and well in the world.
Damayanti Chandrasekhar loves yoga, baking and the Tao. She has a Masters degree in journalism and her other interests include reading, travelling and playing agony aunt via her blog www.punctuatelife.com