My friend went shopping yesterday. Later when I met up with him to go for a walk he had plasters on both knees and his hand and was complaining about sore ribs. it seems that he had fallen, he says on the pavement. He simply fell and on trying to protect himself from an even worse fall he had put out his arm and in the process battered his ribs. He said that people ran to offer him help to get him back on his feet. He was obviously in pain and I could not help but feel sorry for him. Later when he had removed the plasters he had two sore looking knees.
He blamed his bifocal glasses. Others have told me the same thing so I am glad that I only have to wear glasses for reading. I do remember the feeling of having falls when you least expect it. Before getting my new ankle I had a few times when the ankle just went out from under me and I ended up with battered elbows and knees.
This reminded me of a very true story I was once told about two friends.
Mark was walking home from school one day when he noticed the boy ahead of him had tripped and dropped all of the books he was carrying, along with two sweaters, a table tennis bat, and a small tape recorder.
He knelt down and helped the boy pick up the scattered articles. Since they were going the same way, he helped to carry part of the burden.
As they walked Mark discovered the boy's name was Bill, that he loved video games, table tennis and history, and that he was having lots of trouble with his other subjects and that he had just broken up with his girlfriend.
They arrived at Bill's home first and Mark was invited in for a Coke. The also decided to watch some television. The afternoon passed pleasantly with a few laughs and some shared small talk, then Mark went home.
They continued to see each other around school, had lunch together once or twice, then both moved on from to school to university. They ended up in the same university where they had brief contacts over the years, meeting on the train coming and going to university.
Finally the university years neared the end and it was three weeks before graduation.
Bill asked Mark if they could talk.
Bill reminded him of the day years ago when they had first met. "Did you ever wonder why I was carrying so many things home that day?" asked Bill. "You see, I cleaned out my locker because I didn't want to leave a mess for anyone else.
I had stored away some of my mother's sleeping pills and I was going home to commit suicide. But after we spent some time together talking and laughing, I realised that if I had killed myself, I would have missed that time and so many others that might follow.
So you see, Mark, when you picked up those books that day, you did a lot more. You saved my life. You picked me up also."
It is so often the little acts of kindness that bring about the biggest changes.