In these trying times of living in fear, we often forget that other people, while seeming so strange and alien to us, are much like us in what they feel. There are people like us, and if you believe that you are a good person, this transitively mean that there are people like us that are good people.
This past week has been a rollercoaster of emotions for me. On Wednesday, I lost my wallet somewhere on the streets around my university. Now, it wasn’t the loss of the wallet that stressed me out: it was the underlying concern that I psyched myself to believe, that my wallet hadn’t been lost, but actually stolen. What worried me was that I had thoroughly convinced myself that there was some malicious intent on part of some other person, and this hounded me emotionally and mentally. That night, after spending a few hours running around campus between all the classes I had been at, and the various lost and found departments, I came back to my room, disappointed in myself. I wondered to myself, “What have I done to somebody else to have my wallet stolen?”
As I’m sure we often do, whenever we lose something, after much overthinking, we may convince ourselves that it was the doing of someone else.
My reprieve came on Friday, when I woke up to a 6:03 am email from the campus police who told me that my lost wallet had been recovered. I had spent the Thursday registering a report with the police, cancelling all my cards, by now certain that my wallet was a sight of the past. When I saw that email, I was not that happy, surprisingly. There was a lingering doubt of whether what they had recovered was actually my wallet.
But then, when I received it at the station and it turned out to be the very thing that had me worried sick the last two days, all I was, was thankful. I had concocted a million different situations in my head, thinking of the evil of humankind and other terrible things.
It only took me a moment to go from dreadful to grateful, and that’s why I think it’s so important for us to be good samaritans. Whoever picked up my wallet and turned it in, thank you. I tried to get some contact information from university police, but they didn’t have any. So I suppose this entire blog is just one big excuse for me to thank you.
Being good is the sum of small efforts. That person, whoever it was, gave me a greater sense of security about the community I live in the just by the simple act of finding a wallet dropped somewhere and bringing it to the people who could get in touch with the person who owns it.
Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”Desmond Tutu
There is a certain power in being good – a greater sense of self in knowing that what we are doing, thinking and acting on in the course of a day, while small in its magnitude, is great in its significance. We should expect of ourselves what we expect of our neighbours, our peers, our community and even our businesses – that others should strive to be the best they can, and do so without any deception or fraud.
I’ll keep this blog shorter than the rest, since it is more a life update than an actual thought piece. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. You don’t have to make a million dollar donation to be a good samaritan (if you can, that’s great, too…) but more about doing small things.
I end this blog with a quote by Tim Minchin that has stuck with me for a long time. Check out his entire video here.
Be demonstrative and generous in your praise of those you admire. Send thank you cards and give standing ovations.Tim Minchin