My mum always told me never to be kind to people with an expectation. Kindness comes from the heart and its a conscious choice that should be done without any expectations. She always said that more often than not, kindness will come back to you but rarely from the same person you were kind to. It comes back in different shapes and forms.
All my life, I have followed this rule, it doesn't matter if those you are kind to are ungrateful or never help you out in your time of need, you will get it back, regardless.
I have many classic examples of random strangers coming to my aid when friends have failed. My flat mate often reminds me to record my meetings with strangers and many of those meetings I hope I have written down somewhere. Its hard to keep track of all my writings.
Today, was one of those days. I did not sleep a wink last night, insomnia. I waited all morning for a call that never came. I was distraught. "I don't deserve this", I thought. "I don't".
I remembered that I had promised to help a friend out today in her cafe and even though I was tired and sad, I decided to go there anyway. On my way back home, I had to top up my bus card and for some reason, perhaps because I was tired, hungry and sad, I just could not figure out what zone I needed, what coupons I had to buy... I was getting a bit frustrated. The guy at the ticket office saw me and came over. He was unbelievably patient and kind to me. Explaining everything very gently and asking me patiently, questions so he could help me.
For many people, this might not be a big deal, but to me, it was. His kindness made me relax and I began to smile at my own foolishness, I heard my train in the distance but I did not want to leave and neither did he. It was one of those meetings that was just humane. Perhaps he too, was craving for some kindness and human contact, perhaps nobody had looked in his eyes today. But he saw me, and I, him.
I stood by the ticket office, chatting about nothing. Another train passed.
"Well, if you ever have any problems with your card, just come back here any time, and I will help you out"
I did not tell him that I lived miles away, and the possibility of us ever meeting again, was quite slim.
"I will" I said, "Thank you".
As I walked away, I thought of the circle of kindness, how strangers often touch me with simple gestures, simple acts that others take for granted.
I came back home and just as I was about to make my dinner, my phone rang, it was an old friend.
"Hello?" All I could hear was the sound of sobbing....I had not talked to her for months...
"What's the matter? Tell me, I am here"
"Imagine I have to call you in another country! I don't have anybody to talk to" she cried.
"Does it matter what country I am in? That's why I am your friend. What is wrong? I am here"
As I listened to her, it occurred to me that I was right there, in the circle that never ends...