Once in a while, you meet angels. They are people who come to your life unsolicited. They are placed at various life's insidious bends to woo you forward when everything is going down-south. They are the little momentums of life that set you in the right direction. Their serendipitous nudges make the difference. They warm your heart, make you believe in humanity again, and like fresh water ponds, they thoroughly refresh.
Of course, these angels do not see themselves as angels. They do not boast of any divine strength or superior character traits. They do not feel special or act in any way that attracts attention or the media. At all times, they are as human as the person standing next to you in a train, in a queue and in the mall. They see themselves as ordinary, nothing worth a second look. You will miss them if you pass them by. They are indistinguishable from the crowd. Their appearance is most unassuming, disheveled even.
But trust me, what is most ordinary outside is most outstanding inside. And what makes it so is their simple faith in the redemption of humanity. They put their faith on the side of generosity, hope and charity. They are no doubt realist in every sense of the word but they are known by their idealism biased towards the goodness that comes with their tireless giving, forgiving and living to the fullest.
They live by the mantra of paying it forward. And they expect nothing in return unless it is a debt paid for by their beneficiary by way of paying it forward to another. They thrive on a motivation that is distinct from this world. It is not transactional. It is not conditional. Neither is it by subtle manipulation. Their beneficiary can testify to their sincerity. They can bear witness to their agenda-less intent. They are transparent. They are selfless. They just want to move forward in life and not dwell on the errors of the past.
I believe that living is made so much more bearable knowing that angels like them quietly roam the earth. For hidden in the shadows is the emergence of hope and trekking in the dark tunnel is the light glowing in the distance. And these angels bring hope and light to our lives. They demonstrate unreserved kindness because they themselves were once the receiving end of such kindness. They were beneficiaries of a rich and timeless legacy of exceptional humanity. And by their living and giving, they become torch-bearers of this legacy in return.
The path they take is often the road less travelled. But as they travel this selfless road, they gently beckon others to embark on the beaten path too. Not everyone of course will dare this self-denying journey but all it takes is a handful to change the world. This is a quiet revolution that brings out the best in us. And the best in us is often the part of us that sees kindness as its own reward.
For this reason, these angels embody an attitude to serve unconditionally under the covers of anonymity. They shun the limelight because their reward is a good deed done and not a good publicity stunt. Perhaps this story will illuminate their intention better. This is what the author Kristen Monroe wrote in her book "The heart of Altruism" about the heroic act of one good Samaritan:-
"This hero was a man in his forties who liked to hike in the southern California hill country. On one of his hikes, he heard a mother screaming that a mountain lion had carried off her small child. The man ran to where the mother told him the lion had disappeared with the child; tracked the animal until he found it. The child, still alive, was held tightly in the lion's jaws.
The man picked up a stick and attacked the animal, distracting the lion so that it dropped the little girl and attacked him instead. He managed to beat off the attack and returned the children, badly mauled but still alive, to the mother.
As soon as he got the mother and child safely en route to the hospital, he disappeared. When the author pursued the man for an interview, he wrote back to the author in a firm and no less feisty manner, explaining: "The local honors were unwanted, the national press and television attention unpleasant, and the public acclaim abhorrent."”
Greek mythology tells of a heroine named Ariadne who gave a ball of red thread to Theseus so that he could unroll it as he penetrated the labyrinth. His purpose was to save the victims offered to the minotaur as sacrifice to appease the beast. Theseus then found the minotaur deep in the recesses of the labyrinth, killed it with his sword, saved the victims and followed the thread back out.
While a myth remains a myth, the truth distilled from this myth is the common bond that binds us together and that bond is the Ariadne thread of kindness that runs through the history of time. This thread is held firmly in the hands of these angels as they guide us out of our own labyrinth of self, ego and greed. Without them to show us the way, we will be lost in the darkness of our own desires, appetites and lust.
So I celebrate the lives of these silent heroes who walk the parched face of this earth and am most grateful that like candle in the dark, each of them lights up a part of us that collectively goes to brighten our dark world. Cheerz.