This man likes to help people. Not just any people: Strangers. Just because. Out of the goodness of his heart. Isn’t that refreshing? But, in the same breath, isn’t the very fact that it’s refreshing also quite depressing?
Somewhere along the path of its existence the western world has taken a wrong turn. That’s not, of course, to say there aren’t a great many people doing wonderful charitable deeds every day, but rather that society as a whole seems to have lost sight of what is really important.
So many of us go through life with an inward focus, if not being entirely selfish in our motives our generosity extending only so far as those closest to us. We justify that attitude with the rationale that times are hard, we have to look after our own etc. But doesn’t the very fact that times are hard make it all the more important to adopt an outward focus?
You know that elderly neighbour, the one who lost her husband last year? Have you thought to pop in on her as winter approaches, just to check she has everything she needs? And what about the single parent family with six kids just down the road? Will they be choosing between heating and eating this Christmas? Could you do them some small kindness to make the festive season more bearable? Spare some of your children’s old clothes or toys, perhaps? Invite them round for tea?
The phrase ‘charity begins at home’ is so very true – not in the context of home being your own family (although of course we should always strive to treat our families well), but rather those who are suffering right on your doorstep, out of sight and out of mind. Winter is a lonely time and, for many, a treacherous one. So, this winter, perhaps we could all do worse than to take a leaf out of Guy’s* book and help a stranger in need. Just because. Out of the goodness of our hearts. Now wouldn’t that be refreshing?
*not his real name