Love Your Neighbor
Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.
Recently a friend had a very close call with a significant medical issue. On All Saints Day he sent a group of his friends a poignant note reflecting on the gratitude he felt for several unknown people whose prompt actions saved his life.
My friend’s gratitude and thanks prompted me to think once again about all the wonderful people and compassion that I have seen during moments of trial and tribulation in my life. The response of people, most who I never knew, during the really tough times always reaffirms my faith in the basic goodness of people. I am definitely a subscriber to the idea that people are basically good, with occasional moments where they fail; instead of the idea that people are basically bad with occasional good moments.
I have seen evidence of this fundamental love of fellow man many times throughout my life. My list of these events is extensive. I saw it in the military when I thought nothing could be worse than man’s inhumanity to man. There was hope and light from the actions of individuals whose acts of compassion and kindness were astounding in the midst of the carnage. I have seen it during natural disasters and other events as people opened their hearts and homes to help others. I’ve seen it at sea and in remote anchorages where sailors do anything it takes to help out a fellow mariner. I have found the love of neighbor especially prominent with small, heartwarming actions that people do for families that are hurting.
When our daughter died in a car accident, the out pouring of compassion and kindness was astounding – overwhelming actually. I remember the actions of many individuals from our church, our community in San Diego, and from Navy people. Most of these people we did not know. Some were simply walking by our home, saw the flowers, and stopped to give us a hug. People prepared and shared an evening meal for us for a month. The actions of two officers of California Highway Patrol will always be in mind and we owe them a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. They went above and beyond in providing solace and comfort to us as grieving parents.
All this makes it easy for me to see the goodness in everyday life. I can see through the barrage of darkness and bad news that floods us every day and find the basic goodness of people.
Prayer: Lord help all of us have strength and faith in the goodness of our fellow man. Remind us every day to put into action through our simple deeds our love for neighbors as ourselves. Amen.