Sunday, April 20, 2008

Echoes of Kindness

It wasn't Miss Mountjoy's intention to save a life the afternoon of her 4th hour English class. "Everybody get out paper and pencil, you are to write something good about everyone in this class." She didn't know that one of her pupils had told my daughter he was wanting to kill himself that evening. One by one, they spilled their guts out on each other with compliments. Reinforcing good traits that they had forgotten about since grade school. High school was tough and they needed positive feedback.
That evening, this young man called our home to say how happy he felt. He told my daughter that he had been depressed and was planning to kill himself that evening but realized it would be stupid after he read all the letters complimenting his talents and past kindnesses.
Today, he is in college and is a very gifted musician with a beautiful smile. I never told Miss Mountjoy what she had done.

With Passover recently, I'm reminded of an email I received about the Ari who says we are responsible for 2,000 souls. We don't see it, but there are invisible chords tying us to other people we've never met. Our kindness will have a ripple effect in the world as well as our anger.

Friday night, as I was eating in a restaraunt with two old girlfriends, a beautiful young woman walked to our table. "Sandy?" "Yes" I said. "I'm Melissa, your old neighbor." I didn't recognize her because the last time I had seen her, she was a little girl. We hugged and she went on and on about how wonderful it was to live across the street from us. I used to cut their hair and let them take showers in my house before school because they had their water turned off. Just little things to me but it turns out, they were pretty big things for her.

Everyone can be a shining star without much effort. Just remember to "bloom where you're planted!"

Picture taken by Hannah Jorgensen

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