Jennifer Danny | A Common Need for Kindness

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“An early New Thought writer said: ‘Knead love into the bread you bake; wrap strength and courage in the parcel you tie for the woman with the weary face; hand trust and candor with the coin you pay to the man with the suspicious eyes.’ This is beautifully said, and it sums up the Practice of the Presence of God.” 

― Emmet Fox, “Find and Use Your Inner Power” 

As the spirit of the season winds down and the new year begins, it continues to beckon us to learn from our past transgressions, reminding us that this is a good time to forgive and to replenish. 

We collectively as humans have had a difficult couple of years, through COVID-19 and the ongoing hate speak that permeates the daily news ad nauseum, have we forgotten one of the most important sayings: “To Love Our Neighbor.” 

I suppose in the general sense, that means to look past the perceived transgression of our fellow man, to remember that beautiful biblical saying, “Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged.” 

I know I’m guilty of sometimes looking at situations with tunnel vision, and as I get older, I really do try to walk in the other person’s shoes, so to say. There are genuine anecdotal stories that inspire all of us to do something that is kind. 

I am always searching for the “feel good” moment. You know, the one that adds a little bounce in your step for the rest of the day. About two years ago I was at the market, and as I was paying, the checkout person gave me my change and on one of the $20 bills it said, “angel money.” 

So, I tucked it away in a special place, and didn’t spend it. Every now and then I would check on it and be reminded that it was something genuinely comforting. 

Last summer, I was at the local jewelry store getting some watches repaired and when I went to pay, I realized I was about $18 short. So, I told the jeweler that I was going to use my special $20 bill. I gave him the background story of how I received it. And when gave me my change, he had written, “angel money” on one of the dollar bills. I said, “Oh thank you, that is so sweet.” I tucked it away again in that special place and, as I left, I thought what a kind thing that jeweler did. 

I think we all have had a lot on our plates to contemplate over this past year. Some of us feel we’ve been pushed to the edge. There is so much “hate speak” that is broadcasted over the internet and certain news outlets. It reminds of a story about how a young man goes to see his rabbi. And he says to the rabbi, “I’ve been gossiping and saying mean things about some people to other people, and I’ve been thinking, Rabbi, that I want to make it better, in some way to take back what I said.” 

The rabbi then motions to the young man and says: “Come with me.” So together they walked, they ended up near a park and a hillside that had a little path to go up. When they reached the top of the hill, the rabbi turned around and said to the young man, “Here, take this piece of paper and tear it up into many pieces.” The young man obliged. The rabbi then told him to toss the paper into the air. 

The young man did so, and all the pieces scattered all around. He then asked the rabbi, “Does it mean I’m forgiven for the mean things I said?” 

The rabbi looked at the young man very stoically and said, “Now pick up all the pieces. Once you’ve done that, you will be forgiven.” The young man realized that there was no way he’d be able to gather all the pieces of the paper he had torn up and tossed in the air. It was a metaphor that ill words spoken about someone else and then gossiped about with others can cause irreparable damage. We cannot take back “all the pieces of strewn paper.”

As we approach the New Year, why not take a moment to reflect on what we can all do to help each other. I began this article with these words: 

“Knead love into the bread you bake; wrap strength and courage in the parcel you tie for the woman with the weary face; hand trust and candor with the coin you pay to the man with the suspicious eyes.” 

Sometimes all it takes is a smile, a listening ear and sound advice to bring hope to those who may think their situation is hopeless. I raised my children, who are now adults, to always “Be a part of the solution, and not the problem.” 

May 2022 be wonderful for all of you, and I thank you for reading my column. 

Jennifer Danny is a Santa Clarita resident.

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