During the last days of April, I received a phone call from a doorman I’d never met at a building three blocks from Leadership’s main office. He had a package for me that had been mis-delivered. Rather than send it back to be re-delivered, which he could easily and understandably have done, he looked up The Leadership Program online, found the phone number, and called me.
It’s the kind of effort that just makes me want to help everyone. Such a little gesture in the overall scheme of things proves a powerful one. It awakens my love of humanity and opens my heart.
And then there are major world events that motivate me to be more openhearted, from injustices close to home to hardships overseas. A few days after picking up my package from my candidate for doorman-of-the-year, the devastating earthquake in Nepal happened, and hearts everywhere opened wide to all those affected by the destruction. Since then, many aftershocks and a second high magnitude earthquake just two days ago continue to traumatize Nepalis.
Many of us seem to respond more strongly to tragedies half a world away that are completely out of our control, than to the needs and deeds of our own neighbors. Something is activated in us when we see shocking photos of people trapped in rubble from an earthquake or tsunami or hurricane. When we see the funeral pyres of the many who did not make it through the catastrophe.
Maybe the closest we can come to finding an admittedly tarnished silver lining in a disaster is to become more openhearted with each other—to endeavor to remain openhearted regardless of how many times life batters us with the small injuries of others’ mean or thoughtless behavior and the overwhelming sorrow of cataclysmic events.
Looking at these disparate occurrences side by side—a tiny personal pleasantry and a harrowing global tragedy—is a revelation. I am acutely aware that I don’t want to be reliant on external random acts of kindness or at the mercy of brutal, uncontrollable disasters. I can strive for my open heart, on its own, to lead me through all my interactions.
And wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all did that, whether we encounter kindnesses or catastrophes or no catalyst at all. Let’s make it happen.
For the present, if you are so moved, check out the many organizations that have already opened their hearts and doors and coffers to provide relief efforts to those whose lives are still in upheaval in the aftermath of the earthquakes and avalanche in Nepal. There is always room for, and immeasurable power in, one more open heart.
Images courtesy of Google Images. Sounds and music courtesy of FreeSound.org.