Do the great while it is still small.
-Tao Te Ching

From "Invisible Acts of Power" by Caroline Myss:

One evening during the summer, as I was sitting on my balcony, I noticed a young man waiting at the bus stop across the street from my home. He was about seventeen years old and dressed in every way that makes me nuts. His slacks were dragging on the concrete, completely covering his feet. I counted three tattoos on his muscled arms and a complement of pierced ears and eyebrow. Imitating my parents from thirty years ago, I thought, "What is wrong with these kids today? Why do they want to look like this?"

As I was manufacturing my own opinions about this boy, an older woman began to struggle across the street with oversize, heavy boxes. The young man noticed her, too, and, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, walked over and offered to help her. She gratefully released the boxes into his arms and led him to her car. He placed her belongings in the trunk, nodded, and turned to go, but in the most remarkable, touching way, the woman wrapped her arms around him and gave him a warm bear hug of a thank-you. Then she drove away. He stood smiling a moment and returned to the bus stop. Within a minute of that tender exchange, he was aboard his bus, leaving me alone on my porch to think about the extraordinary encounter I had just witnessed. Perhaps this young man would never think about that older woman again and the favor he had done for her. But the woman certainly would. She had been graced with help that had come out of nowhere just when she needed it…

I began to think about how little it takes to do a lot for someone else and about the amazing, long-range consequences of a single thoughtful act... What really takes place inside you when you respond to someone in need? Why do some people jump out of their seats to help another person, while others look the other way?... I think it is the invisible power of grace, moving between the open hearts of the giver and the receiver. The action itself, the lifting of a heavy piece of luggage or the drink of water offered to the thirsty man, may be small. But the energy that is channeled through the action is the high-voltage current of grace. It contains the power to renew someone's faith in himself. It even has the power to save a life.

more from beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad