World Peace Might Be a Stretch, but Kindness Is Within Reach
Well, I wish you all a very Merrie Christmas from Prague, knowing full well that less than a third of the world is Christian. Never mind that, I have Muslim and Hindu friends as well and even a Buddhist or two thrown in to season the pot. If you hear my voice or read my writing, you are a friend of mine. If not, you are just a friend I do not yet know.
Those of us who are not already at one another’s throats, hope for peace.
From hopeful beauty-contest entrants to politicians seeking office, it’s quite the fashion to murmur a word or two in favor of world peace. I’m in favor of that and quite sure you are as well, but every mother who has lost a son is ahead of us in line. The arc of history is bending slowly in that direction.
And yet kindness is everywhere within our reach.
Only needing to be picked up, no uniforms or marching-bands required to spread this precious commodity.
I once ran out of gas, on my motorcycle in the midst of a western desert between Vail, Colorado and San Francisco. Those situations only occur when one is distracted and I don’t know what was on my mind at that moment, but there it was, tank empty. I hadn’t passed a car in a hundred miles. July and blistering hot.
Angels are there to protect us idiots and a lone pickup truck shimmered its way out of the heat waves, pulled over and a Hispanic gentleman climbed out, slapping his hat against dusty jeans.
“Out of gas, I’m afraid.”
“Hmmm. Not good, I’ve nothing to syphon with. But climb in, we’ll figure something out.”
Long story short, it was fifty miles to his house and all he had was mixed-gas for a lawnmower. Sunday and no gas stations open. The Harley would smoke a little, but it would run. I thanked him, said I’d return the can and walked back toward the highway.
“Where the hell you goin’?”
“Get in the truck.”
“It’s fifty miles.”
“Tell me something I don’t already know.”
Fifty miles in, fifty back and fifty home again. A hundred fifty miles to help a stranger dumb enough to run out of gas in the desert and wouldn’t take a dime. It’s been a long time, but I’ll remember that a long time more. His parting words, “We don’t leave people out here in the desert. Someday you’ll stop for someone needs help. Pass on the favor.”
I’ve a hunch that world peace comes just that slow.
One stranger helping another and making a friend, who helps someone else, and another friend is made. I remember you all and each-and-every-one of you is my friend. It doesn’t embarrass me to say that.
Maybe it’s a start.