Tonight I helped out at a spiritual healers clinic, about half an hour away from home, on the other side of town. I left about half an hour before it started, so I was cutting it close.
About a block from home, I passed a stalled pickup on the other side of the boulevard. The driver was standing beside the truck, looking forlornly down the street, booster cables in hand. Since he was on the other side of the median, it was not convenient to stop and ask about his situation. I also figured I didn’t have the time.
Then a voice from an old story popped into my head: “Likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.”
“But I’ll be late for my healing duties,” I argued.
“This is your healing duties,” the voice countered.
“He’s probably already waiting for someone.”
So my conscience (or guides, or angels) got me to do a U-turn at the lights and go back to help this guy. He was very grateful that I stopped at all, and grateful that I popped the hood, and grateful that his truck started. He was an all-around grateful guy. The whole deal took about two minutes, and then we were both on our way.
A few minutes later, when it sunk in, I felt an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Why am I feeling grateful? I asked. I was the one that did the service.
Then I realized that the gratitude was not from me – it was for me. The same voice that had asked me to help out was filling me with gratitude for my simple act of compassion.
“Isn’t this kind of arrogant of me?” I asked myself. (Or rather, a less helpful, rather manipulative voice asked me.) After all, it wasn’t that big a deal. I just helped a guy boost his truck. Why give myself a standing ovation?
“But you listened. You did what you could. You took action. You helped someone today, when you could just as easily have listened to the fear instead. So, thank you.”
I felt the presence of the angels in that moment, with gratitude enfolding me. In fact, it was more than gratitude – it was pride. They were proud of me. Such a simple act of kindness, and it was like I was their kid playing the lead role in the school play. I could feel them bragging to each other about me.
My inner religious voice tried telling me that pride is bad, but the pride didn’t feel bad. It felt like the angels really wanted me to know that I was on the right path, taking the right steps, doing what I’m here to do, and that they were pleased as punch with my progress.
Today I made a simple decision to serve someone in need when my old mental habits wanted me to make excuses and keep driving. Today I did one thing right. So, I’m not going to make excuses for feeling good about that.
The angels could have helped the stranded motorist in some other way, but they chose to get me involved. And when they choose to help us help each other, we get to experience the compassion and gratitude that lifts our souls and makes the world a better place.
Oh – and – I was still early for the healers clinic.