One Percent Angel
Every year Sister Mary writes and tells me about her work. She helps the
less fortunate, and particularly the homeless.
This year she sent me a note asking if I would be an angel to
someone less fortunate. I smiled as I read the note. Who me, an angel?
Angels are special and they do great things.
What could I do that would make me an angel?
I Don't Have Money
I didn't have enough money to really make a difference
In order to be an angel I felt that I would need a lot of money so I could
truly change someone's life. And while I may try to do
good but an Angel I am not!
However, as I sat reflecting on Sister Mary's note, I was thinking back
to a course that I took on Continuous Improvement. The whole theme
of the course was not to change
one thing by one thousand percent BUT
to change one thousand things by one percent.
All of a sudden Sister Mary's note made sense. If one thousand people
sent ten dollars each, then that would be equal to ten thousand dollars.
Imagine if each one of us gave only ten dollars to a charity that helped
people who are less fortunate; what a difference that would make!
It Happens To Us All
All of us have times in our lives when things may not be going so well, yet, we get through those times, and maybe, just maybe, you had one thousand Angels helping you by just that one percent!
And, It Is Not Just Money
Now, at the same time, one may not be in a position to contribute
money but being an angel means more than money. If you have strength
of personality to help someone through difficult times, or the energy
to volunteer at a homeless shelter, or a home for unwed mothers,
or a home for abused women, you can be an angel as well.
The great thing about helping and giving
is that you get back twofold what you give. You get appreciation,
a kind smile of gratitude or simply the sense that you helped in just one
little way. Do not refuse to be an angel if you do not have the money -
give of yourself, your kindness,
your caring - contribute whenever you can.
The Angel Not
So, the question may be for you is this: how do I start to behave and
act like a angel? Is there a place, date or time that my behaviour should
start to reflect the characteristics that display my angel like qualities?
Well, before we start talking about the behaviours that are like an angel,
it would be better to clarify what some of these characteristics are.
To start, let's take the reverse of what may be a characteristic.
To show behaviours that are not angel like qualities is to say that
they are mean-spirited. This implies that this behaviour is directed to
be nasty to others, to always put your own needs and desires before
other people. It means that you may start your day on the wrong side
of the bed by looking for every bad, everything that will go wrong with
your day, to demonstrate an inner spite of hostility to those that are in your
Characteristics of mean and nasty and selfish driven people are demonstrated
in how they speak or don't speak to others who attempt to show friendliness.
This is a behaviour that scorns the happy demeanour of others by refuting
anything that is directed toward making a work or household environment
pleasant and warm.
It is a behaviour that lashes out when any circumstance dares to be contrary
to what they think or want or believe a situation should unfold. It is a person
who displays an affinity to focus on a problem and beat it to the point
where those around this person see no alternative. This person loves
to influence other people so that they will swim in the same murky stream
of despair or the same attitude that vehemently decries how unfair life is.
This destructive anti-angel person is the one who can throw water on
any situation no matter how joyous or rewarding it is to other people.
This person is the detrimental influence of dashing any hopes for a
brighter future; smashes any view that suggests that they may be their
own worst enemy; a person who believes that they are owed a good living
despite the fact that they will or are contributing anything of worth.
It is this same person who thrives in stirring the cauldron of negativity
where each blessing that they do have is compared to someone else
who has even more. Their level of dissatisfaction never sees enough
but is constantly seeking allies who will join their band of despair.
The Angel Of More
In the preceding paragraphs, it is clear that what may be called the anti-angel
characteristics may not be what you desire. However, as we all know,
there are times when we might all be guilty of some or many of these
characteristics. Sometimes, we do not recognize that we have fallen
on the dark side of humanity when we display unwanted behaviours.
Sometimes, we recognize that we are being less than noble, or kind,
or compassionate, or friendly or a contributor. We also all probably know
that despite our best efforts at times, we can easily slide into our dark
side in times of great stress or illness.
However, recognizing that we are all human and that no one is perfect,
the challenge is to cast our own shadow of all that can be seen as good
qualities rather than cast a dark cloud of despair and selfishness. Each person
has their own unique personality and it is, therefore, up to each person to
critically self-examine their own behavior on an on-going basis. The personal
critique isn't a onetime analysis either. It is an analysis that should take place
amidst the changes in our lives notwithstanding whether we influenced them
or not. This means that we need to develop an understanding of what triggers
are good behaviours and what causes our not so grand behaviours. Some
of these triggers may be circumstances that we can control similar to being
able to control whether we plunge into a cold stream fully aware that we do
not swim well in cold water. It is similar to knowing that we are not at our
best we are over tired or when we are put into confrontation when we know
we deal poorly when attacked.
Part of the strategy of avoiding or dealing with unwelcome or
stressful situations is to use the wisdom of old where it says that we
should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to act.
In other words,
do not put your actions before you listen; control your tongue through
wise reflection; let you actions stem from what is helpful. If you follow
this simple but profound advice, you will move towards displaying your
best approach to each and every situation you encounter.
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
"Be kind to strangers, because it's the loving thing to do. Also, you never know -- they could be angels."
Scott Curran, From God to You
"We're here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark."
"We can do no great things, only small things with great love."
"Do all the good you can, and make as little fuss about it as possible."
"The measure of life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation."
"How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it."
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