Compassion Is Not Only For The Rich

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” ~ Aesop

Leaving my office building today and walking to where my car was parked in the parking lot, I cursed lightly under my breath. You see it was raining again and although I didn’t mind getting wet it meant only one thing, the traffic was going to be a nightmare going home.

I climbed into my car, put on my favourite music and got comfortable for the long drive home. I had been driving for less than 10 minutes when I came up to an intersection where the lights were just changing to red.  I was the third car from the front in the right hand lane and as I slowed down and came to a stop my eyes rested on a sight that made me feel deeply sad.

There on the small island of the intersection was a dog lying half on something but half on the cold, wet concrete.  Although the dog had a doggie blanket on and there appeared to be a backpack of sorts next to him, as if protecting him from the icy cold wind and rain. Draped over the backpack and only slight over the dog was what looked like a jacket. The owner of the dog appeared to be a homeless man, who at this time was walking across the road in the opposite direction. The dog looked longingly after his owner, not moving except for the constant shivering.  He lay there watching his owner walk away with what could only be described as puppy dog eyes. My heart broke. My eyes shifted from my side mirror watching the man walk away to the dog lying on the wet concrete, shivering so badly from the cold. I wanted to jump out of my car and go and pick the dog up and put him in my car and make him warm again.

My eyes continued to shift to my side mirror, watching the dogs owner. He was walking back across the road to where the dog lay shivering on the concrete island; this time he had something in his hand.

As he got closer I realised it was a placard from the lamppost with the latest news headlines on. My first thought was that it was the guy who sells newspapers on the road and not a homeless man. I continued to watch as the man neared his dog and what followed reduced me to tears.

It was in fact a homeless man with a small sign in his other hand asking for food or money. The homeless man reached his dog and then gently lifted him up and lay down the lamppost placard under the dog. He then took both his hands and wiped the rain drops off his dogs coat, almost as if to warm his dog up again.  He then knelt down and got the dog to lie down on the new, dry cardboard sign he had just put down. As his dog lay down, the homeless man took the jacket that was now just lying over the backpack and pulled it over the dog and tucked his dog in to keep him warm.

I could do nothing but watch this simple act of compassion and my heart broke for both of them as the tears ran down my cheeks.

There I was sitting in my car, warm and dry, on my way home to a beautiful house that has everything my heart desires. I have a cupboard full of warm clothes and plenty of food to eat and tonight I have a warm bed to sleep in.  It is currently bitterly cold in Cape Town, it’s been raining for the last two days and watching this homeless man with his dog pulled at every single heart string I have.

“It only takes a split second to smile and forget, yet to someone that needed it, it can last a lifetime.” ~ Steve Maraboli

More often than not when I see a dog with a homeless person, my heart not only goes out to the homeless person but to the dog too, knowing that they probably don’t get much food or water and I wonder what kind of life it must be. Watching those events as they unfolded at that intersection tonight reminded me yet again just how human everyone is and that each one of us are doing the best that we can in that given moment.  All everyone wants in life is a little bit of love and caring and it was no different for that homeless man and his dog tonight. The dog was not tied up and was free to leave to seek warmth and love from someone else, but the dog lay there loyally waiting for his owner to return, who in turn rewarded the dog with as much warmth and love as he could give.

“How much can we ever know about the love and pain in another heart? How much can we hope to understand those who have suffered deeper anguish, greater deprivation, and more crushing disappointments than we ourselves have known?” ~ Orhan Pamuk

Grateful for all the blessings I have in my life and mostly for my sight that allows me to witness such beautiful blessings and acts of compassion and raw humanness. I am so richly blessed in my life, I have more than I could ever want and tonight my heart goes out to all those homeless people out there and to all those who live in shacks and who are desperately trying to survive this cold winter.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

We do not always choose our circumstances, sometimes life is cruel and we are dealt cards we don’t want but we have to make the best of what we have and in the end we have to respect each others journey’s ~ not matter what they are.

Tonight as I lie down to sleep, I sigh in contentment for another day well lived. This day has been so rare; there exists no other the same. How marvellous that life unfolds in never-ending patterns that fill me with the sheer joy of just being alive.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stef
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 08:29:03

    thanks you made me cry so early in the morning :(


  2. Rain Jackets For Dogs
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 14:44:18

    You are great writer. Very nice post and heart touching…Thanks for sharing and i also share it with others..


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