“Human affection, ardent and comprehensive as it may be, cannot hope to encompass the whole world. It must be satisfied to render assistance to the few who may come within its easy reach; for it is the individual touch that imparts healing.”
Judge Charles F. Moore
I opened with a quote from my great-great-uncle, who in 1926 wrote a little book called Comradeship. I have a signed copy. It’s very cool!
This month in particular I have been extremely aware of, and grateful for, those “individual touches” in my life. The ones that create all the good healing.
While each of us is always very much alone in our own skins, when we nurture true and loving friendships, we are not lonely there. Our most intimates are always within easy reach, whether they are next door or hundreds of miles away. How easy is it to picture the face of a dear friend or to hear her laughter in your head? It’s no effort at all.
Another quote: “There are days, and many of them, when everyone longs for the touch of a kindred soul. There may be contentment, but no joy without it.”
All too true. Happiness that is not shared just bangs around within our selves. Whenever we see something beautiful, or get some good news, most often our first impulse is to share it with a loved one! Conversely, when we are sad or hurt, our impulse it to reach for them for comfort.
One of my favorite things in life is to witness someone I love in full happy joyousness. Nothing can beat that, not even something good happening to me!
More quotage: “There is nothing that so stimulates one’s effort to make good as to be perfectly sure that someone you love believes in you.”
How true is this? If even one person on the planet believes in you completely, suddenly you can move all those mountains and jump over all those chasms. Self-doubt is the most insidious of things, but the power of kindred who says, “You can do it!” is often all we need to succeed. Maybe we feel we can’t do it for ourselves, but for someone we love? Absolutely!
Quote again: “What we need to understand is that, if proper attention be paid to the human unit, the human race may be trusted to take care of itself.”
What good old great-great-uncle Charles is speaking to here, is the overwhelming nature of the suffering world. All over the planet countless beings are enduring hardship, and in most cases our personal efforts can do nothing to alleviate, much less stop, that suffering. So what do we do with our empathy? Turn in to our own corner of the world, to the person next to you, to your family and dear friends.
The interconnectedness of humanity is becoming more and more apparent as our world grows smaller. We are beginning to realize that uplifting one person can make a difference to the whole. Judge Moore, way back in the 1920’s, was probably speaking to the impossibility of actually reaching people in need who were on the other side of the planet. At least personally reaching them. Yet we find this perspective true in new and exciting ways. Like that movie, “Pay it Forward”, our one act of kindness can spread with lightening speed from person to person to person. We are that connected.
Yes, it’s a fine thing to contribute time and money to good causes, but not at the expense of neglecting those in our immediate sphere where a real difference can be made. Where your hands and your heart can sooth the suffering – sometimes even remove it – with the smallest of efforts.
Last quote: “There is more of the milk of human kindness in the world than we are prone to believe. Most people are disposed to be friendly, if they are only given the chance. If you want your acquaintances to come into your heart and abide there, open the door and make them welcome.”
Opening our hearts can feel like a risky business, and yes we must take care of who we let in. Yet open our hearts we must. Not blinded by a need to fix everyone and everything, but so that we may experience that true kinship with another, with others. Life is all about risks, and if we are in awareness and mindful (in that we truly take the time and effort to get to know another), then opening our hearts is like opening the door to a beautiful garden. Well tended, that garden will grow and thrive in our seasons of warmth, and will survive the difficulties of the darkest cold nights.
I think of my friends, my loved-ones, and how different they all are. How one makes me laugh, the other makes me think, the next shares my interests, another keeps me grounded. So many gifts wrapped in such unique packages. Each one a blessing, not to be taken for granted. How we expand each other in our exchanges of tears and of laughter! How our insights elevate us, and our silliness creates childlike delight!
So, sappy as I am, here’s to friendship! Here’s to that sharing that only comes when we open those heart-doors to another!