I have recently thought about an incredible act of compassion extended to me many years ago.
In fourth grade we were suppose to bring in a dime for a folder to use in class. My parents were divorced and money was in short supply. Watching my mom fend off creditors, I did not have the nerve to ask her for a dime. When I got to school, I really wish I had asked my mother for the dime because everybody else in class had the dime ready on their desk for the teacher. I was embarrassed and felt silly.
Somehow, A girl named Karen, sitting next to me, saw my personal suffering and waited until the last second to put a dime on the corner of my desk. Even though I never said a word, she saw my quiet anguish and only wanted to relieve it. She said nothing and I was too embarrassed to say thank you. It was the most genuine, authentic act of kindness I've ever experienced.
I was recently taking a walk and noticed a tree with a low-hanging branch reaching out towards me. I immediately saw it as a hand reaching out, offering to take my hand. It felt good to think of the notion of one being there to hold my hand in difficult times.
Later I considered this tree to be a lesson for me. It was a reminder that the universe offers us all we need to traverse life's challenges. It only requires that we be "present" in the moment to see what is before us.
I find that when I encounter people while out in public, I can nod and smile at them and the reaction is almost exclusively a positive one. I'm not "trying to be nice." I am simply letting them know I am here and I see them and am open to greeting them for who they are. It is a way to say we are all here together and, together, we can make this moment a little better for the world.