Saturday, August 9, 2014

"Anything that encourages people to engage in helping others has to be a good thing.” — Russell Crowe

My wife and I love to watch the show “Secret Millionaire” in all of its versions, American, British, and Australian.  We probably like the Australian version best because it’s narrated by Russell Crowe—who gave all his narration fees to one of the charities in one of the episodes.  What we love is not how much money is given away, nor how much it helps those who get it, and not even how much the millionaire changes personally (and almost all do).  What we love is seeing all the nameless, unknown people of all ages who cannot think of doing anything else but feeding the hungry, helping the homeless, caring for terminal children, giving their own home to delinquent young men, or visiting the elderly and bringing them love and cheer.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu said to, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”  We are overwhelmed by those in all three countries who help others with no thought for themselves.  We have seen people who have lost their own homes to Hurricane Katrina helping to build homes for others who have lost theirs while living out of a small camping trailer.  You know I am a fan of Mark Twain, and when I see these people helping the disabled to garden, the blind to play tennis, and the amputees to rock climb, I am reminded of one of my favorite Twainisms, “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”  The gifts from the millionaires always do a lot of good and leave the recipients in tears, but the truth is that whether the millionaire visited them or not, they would go on doing what they are doing, helping those in their communities who so desperately need help.  Remember Aesop’s fables?  Well, Aesop should be more famous for this saying of his, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”  The sacrificial giving we see on these shows just awes and humbles us, not the giving of the millionaires who give from their plenty, but giving like the couple who took a second mortgage to keep delinquent boys in their own home—that is real giving.  Also a fan of Charles Dickens, I am reminded that he once said, “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”  We are truly inspired by almost every single charity we see on these shows, almost all of which are struggling financially.  There are so many good people in the world that these shows about these plain, mostly poorly educated, and many times former addicts or cancer survivors themselves show by their kindness a kind of balance to all the bad news, violence, killing, hatred, and stupidity that we see and read about.  I will leave you with this quote from a very famous and wealthy professional tennis player, “Remember this. Hold on to this. This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others. This is the only thing we can do that has any lasting meaning. This is why we're here.” ― Andre Agassi 
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