Sometimes the smallest gesture can make a huge impact on someone’s life. There are many different ways we can show kindness to others. A smile, a door being held open, a handwritten note, a kind word, helping someone pick up some books that have fallen! It is not the size of the action that is important, but the difference that a small action makes.
One day, when I was a student in secondary school, I saw a boy from my class walking home from school. His name was Ritchie. He was carrying all his books. I thought to myself, ‘Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a swot.’
I had quite a weekend planned, so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him. His glasses went flying and I saw them land in the grass. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. So I jogged over to him.
As he crawled around looking for his glasses, I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks.” He looked at me and said, “Hey thanks!” There was a big smile on his face that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. We talked all the way home and I carried his books. We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Ritchie, the more I liked him.
Monday morning came, and there was Ritchie with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Ritchie, you are going to really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next four years, Ritchie and I became best friends. When we were older, we began to think about college and university. Ritchie decided on UCGand I was going to Maynooth. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor and I was going to be a teacher. As Ritchie was the head prefect of our class, he had to prepare a speech for graduation. I could see he was nervous about his speech, so I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!” He looked at me and smiled.
Friendship is the best gift
Richie began his speech. ‘Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years – your parents, your teachers, your siblings…but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give him or her.’ I looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.
‘Thankfully, I was saved,’ he said. ‘My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.’ I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realise its depth.
Thought for the week
As your thought for the week, never underestimate the power of your actions. God puts us in each other’s lives to impact on one another in some way. Look for God and the good in others and remember a little kindness can go a long way! Also if you are suffering with doubts, there are great organisations like the Samaritans, Console, Pieta House, Jigsaw, St Vincent de Paul, and many more, including your local GP, that are a great source of help in times of difficulties and strife. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and a little kindness!