Saturday, January 24, 2009

That Thing We Do

Today, I break my own rules.

When I started this blog, my intention is to put nothing but short stories to it. But on this particular occasion there will be none of those things that terrify or make me depressed and insecure or make me question my purpose for being, in short the very thoughts that had lead others to say I had been all along afflicted with a kind of chronic negativity, whatever that means. Part of the reason for the change of heart, to tell you the truth is I am running out of stories to tell, and the other part is the audacity of that one great belief that after only a few months of blogging, I have already earned the right to do my own rants, which I used to abhor when people do it unabashedly, especially for purposes of self-promotion. Well, I am doing the same thing now and I would be willing to earn the devil's wrath because well maybe I deserve to.

I was glossing over the discussion forum the other day and a question struck a chord. It wasn't a particularly intelligent or emotional or controversial topic but on the contrary, the question was rather commonplace and I am sure the asker was nowhere near the first to think of the question, which in fact may have already been asked a million times at various interactions happening in every corner of the worldwide web. What makes you think this life is still worth living? In most cynicial times, I would have cringed. Just another subtle shot at pontification. So I must admit I answered it by a spur of the moment's thought, the idea merely to get some attention from those browsing on the same page. I don't even remember now what my answer was and I doubt if I can still find the said thread in the discussion forum, until it appears again in some other form or permutation but for now I only wish I had been more incisive and level-headed in my answer or if not, to at least make sense and deliver a valid point.

As an afterthought, and to perhaps undo what had already been done, I would say that for as long as people do the things that they do out of love, then life would be worth it. Sometimes, I would surprise myself for the great lengths that I would be willing to go, and for the sheer energy of my resolve to do the things that would actually contribute absolutely nothing to my personal happiness but would bring fulfillment to someone else even to a complete stranger. And those are the moments when I feel most proud just to be me. I am sure a lot of folks also know the feeling. Because when you become the recipient of an act of kindness, that means you must have done something truly special in your past that makes you deserving of a return favor. The law of karma had simply rewarded you the opportunity to reap what you planted, in a way you didn't imagine and because of that you will become more inspired to plant the seed of kindness all over again keeping the cycle of sharing perpetually in motion, touching more people's lives.

That we are somehow equipped with a consciousness of the other person's needs and more importantly, the initiative to try to fill that need is such a wonderful thing. It should rank among the greatest miracles on earth. For so long we have hailed the greatest inventions, the most profound achievements, the extraordinary feats yet the small acts of kindness that happen on a daily basis practically go unnoticed precisely because you see them everywhere anytime. But imagine what kind of a world we will all have if people would stop caring?

Maybe we should all remember that we are as much a product of what good deeds people do and have done for us out of responsibility, as those small favors that they did out of love. I would even dare say that the latter kind of favor has far greater and more lasting effect on the life that we choose to live. There is more to parents giving up so much of their own happiness and enduring unbelievable pains than simply because they are parents. There is more to the lowly-paid worker taking the extra mile, and staying at it beyond his watch than simply because it is the work he does and he just had to do it. There is more to the friends, and even the strangers who care to listen to you and willingly give you sympathy in moments when you needed it, than for sheer reason that it is just the kind of gesture expected of every man.

What does it make of you when you succeed in performing all your responsibility to the letter? Well, you just prove to be a truly responsible person and a credit to humanity. But everytime you perform a service that were never meant to be your responsibility to render and in doing so you do it with a sense of joy and purpose, then be proud that you have just set the highest example about love and caring and compassion, and because of that and because of people like you, it is indeed a much better world.

Thank you Ma'am Ria, if you happen to read this...


abby villa said...

found your blog title 'hanging on a hypen" intriguing so i lingered...i remember the few times that strangers smiled at me. when i was feeling down and cold inside, the smile warmed me up. if i was happy it perked me up some more and made me a little more affectionate. i believe in spreading warmth and kindness around us...thanks for your post.

Red said...

"I would say that for as long as people do the things they do out of love, then life would be worth it."

Awesome words! So many things come to mind that go along with this truth. Like, when your kids are grown they will not particularly remember that expensive game you got them for Christmas, but they will always remember the TIME you spent playing that game with them. They will fondly recall the days and moments of their childhood, not the things in it.

And how, sadly, there is a local High school group who decided to do good deeds, but they've had so many untrusting people call the law on them for passing out smiley face cards with out a vendors permit, for raking leaves for the elderly. People just didn't trust that they just wanted to do something completely with out reward. Wonderful that this group of youth thought to do this, but sad the reaction they got.

"Hanging on a Hyphen" said...

abby, red, thank you for spending time to read and comment here. I thought all the while this is going to be a futile thing, and pass unnoticed like the good things that happen without us bothering to appreciate them. You speak from the heart and your words provide a glowing confirmation of the common thing that we believe in, and which bind us, notwithstanding time and distance, the kindness that springs from the heart. Thank you so much...

Jeff Baker said...

If you stopped being kind to me, it would have an effect on me.

You speak of others and their acts of goodness. I merely take the opportunity to point out to the observer that you are one of the kindest people I have never met... lol.

Good to see you ranting. You are really rather good at it!

Peace to you my friend. Just checking in on you. -- jeff

You're welcome. said...

"Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves."

Helen Haddad said...

Lovely!!I cannot believe that after three months of search through different blogs,at last, I was able to find a blog that will suit my taste of reading and writing. I share a lot of your views here which I have mentioned clearly in my posts. I enjoyed the words you drew in your post. You are an artist for sure. You are expressive in all means. Though, sometimes I did feel that life is not worth living and expressed it in more than one post, I do still have that hope that things might be brighter in the future. Reading it for sure in your post has even made that glimmer stronger.

Hillbilly Duhn said...

Stumbled across your blog. So I took a gander about and wow. I think kindness, and something as simple as a smile in anothers direction is sheer service to the soul. More people should stop and see the simplicity of such things and I do believe we would be better off.

Have a wonderful day! :)

kathleenmaher said...

Add my voice to Jeff Baker's: good to see you ranting! A generous heart and mind, both so full, needs to rant; it's the others we'd rather did not.

Not only have I never seen you write anything less whole- heartedly, I thank you for naming my blog as one you read regularly. Every writer, especially fiction writers, needs readers; without others bringing their experience to the effort, the writing remains flat and unfinished. I
Like many, I spend so much time writing--eons may pass while I construct a paltry sentence--that I'm delinquent when it comes to reading as many blogs as I should. So thanks, too, for kindly and indirectly reminding me. Keep writing, and reading, and reminding someone like me what's important. One-Love, Hyphen!