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An Act of Kindness - Articles Surfing
Today I went to the park to be in Nature. It had been a long hot day, and it felt wonderful to sit in the shade, just reading, and watching as birds and butterflies came near. The sun had just set, and some people were beginning to leave and go home. It was still a balmy evening, so others lingered.
As I prepared to depart, I too decided to linger. I felt a strong urge to go near the lake, to touch the water. Lately, I've been making a conscious effort to listen to my feelings more. So I drove to where the lake was, which is also a more crowded area of the park.
I walked past the people and stood near the water, and touched it. The lake was so beautiful. I gazed upon it, then up at the sky. And just above the horizon was the silvery sliver of a new moon embraced by an azure sky. Gazing at Nature, past the crowds, I could not help but be in awe of her splendor. Nature never disappoints us, if we take the time to notice her. I was glad I took those few minutes to witness this daily miracle at dusk.
As I started walking back to my car, I couldn't help but see a mass of broken glass mixed in with the grass'glimmers from the setting sun reflected it back to me. In it's own way, it was beautiful. Yet I know that broken glass can be very dangerous.
I knelt and inspected the scene. The shards were from a newly broken bottle: both large and small chunks of sharpness that could easily inflict harm on an unaware passerby. Most of the shards were hidden in the grass and, with the dimming light, most people would not see them.
When I was a child, a friend of mine stepped on a piece of glass in a park, and she was seriously injured. She had been running barefoot and didn't see it. I still remember the huge gash in her foot, and pain she suffered. I still recall how her moment of joy so quickly turned into tragedy. So I always try to pick up glass in parks and on trails to prevent others from getting hurt. It is something that I do, just to give back, even during times when I feel I have little to give.
However, I also shy away from crowds, and it felt uncomfortable to linger any longer as darkness was descending. Yet here was my duty before me. I looked around and found a small piece of aluminum foil on the ground and I placed it in the palm of my hand, to serve as a shield. Then I knelt and started picking up the broken shards and placed them on the foil.
It was about that time that I noticed a woman with her dog, walking towards me, then altering their course just a bit to walk around me. If I had not been there--in that spot, at that time--they would have walked right through the glass and the dog would have been hurt. He was a beautiful dog, and seemed very good natured. I felt thankful that I was there to prevent that small tragedy.
I said not a word to anyone around me. I just dutifully picked up the glass, piece by piece, trying to get it all up before it was too dark to see. There was so much of it, that it required two trips to the waste basket.
At various intervals, I became aware of at least four people who took note of my actions: an older woman who was walking alone, a teenager listening to rap music with his friends, and a young couple. They took note that someone was taking the time to do a good deed, and I was happy to set this example. I knew this small act touched their lives in some way.
On the way back to my car, I noticed two large unbroken bottles and picked them up also. They, too, were accidents waiting to happen, if someone did not intervene.
Driving home, I felt more joy than I had for a long time.
Only a month ago, I was living with a sociopath in an abusive relationship. I was a broken woman, afraid to go out among people at all. If I had not found the courage to leave him, no one would have picked up that glass today. And someone could have been hurt.
Today I made a difference in a stranger's life, or a dog's life, or a bird's life. Perhaps in several lives. And I was only able to do so because I made the right choice, in my own life, a month earlier.
I felt grateful that I was able to do this small act of kindness for another. And I smiled.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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