Monday, September 6, 2010

Random Act of Kindness

Today Rob and I had a mini-picnic in a little mining town near Denver (Idaho Springs). We stopped at a park to eat and I immediately noticed an elderly man lying down in the grass. It was pretty windy and chilly, so I was a little concerned. I couldn't tell if he was homeless (I doubted it because he didn't seem to have any possessions with him), but it was clear that whatever the case, he was not in good condition. Given my overly empathetic nature, I kept my eye on him. I didn't approach him because he looked like he was sleeping, and besides, I wasn't sure what I would have said to him.

So we sat down and started eating. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed another picnicker approach the man. She checked to see if he was breathing, and then walked back to her husband and must have said something because immediately her husband went to his car and brought back a sleeping bag. The woman brought the bag over to the sleeping man, and began to put it around him. She helped him up so that she could place the bag under him, and then she began to rub his back and speak to him softly. I couldn't help but watch in awe and think that I was witnessing something amazing.

It brought a tear to my eye. That is how I want to live my life; to help others without the fear that so often paralyzes me. I've always dreamed of working with the homeless and the lonely. I've always been drawn to under-served populations and yet something has always held me back from actually acting on my feelings. But that woman's random act of kindness triggered something in me. Maybe it wasn't as big of a deal as I thought, but it really touched me and I am really glad I got to see that.