Vignettes on Aging – Humanity

Last Wednesday I was at the grocery store at the crack of dawn because I prefer to shop while everyone is still asleep. That way I can zip around while only having to dodge shelf re-stockers instead of just-waking-up-shoppers like me. I checked out with my favorite clerk, Jermaine, and headed out the door. It was still pitch black outside when I got to my car and popped the trunk. Something seemed off, but I pushed that concern aside quickly because it was brrr cold and I was in a hurry. As I turned to put the cart back in the stack, out runs Jermaine yelling at me and waving my wallet in his hand as he rushed over.

Wow! Guess I wasn’t as awake as I thought when I left it behind next to the payment contraption! I gave a boatload of thanks to him and a silent message of gratitude to the universe that I had my wallet once again. It would have been so easy to leave my wallet at the check-out stand, to be scooped up by another shopper who might be motivated to get something for nothing. A royal holiday hassle diverted!!

When I feel my sense of humanity is flagging and it seems there’s no one interested in doing for others, I love to hear about acts of kindness and generosity. Jermaine didn’t have to leave his post to catch up to me. He could have stashed the wallet with Lost and Found and waited for me to return for it once I realized I was missing something.

Back during the pandemic, did you hear about Jennifer Garner rounding up some of her celebrity friends to read books to kids online? I saw it here, and I’m sure the kids loved it; I loved it. Who doesn’t love being read to? Also during the pandemic, we heard countless stories of people doing for others. Some acts were big, like stepping in where parents got sick or passed away. Some acts were small, like banging pots at a certain hour in the neighborhood to signal to first responders the community’s support. While I don’t miss the intensity of the pandemic at all, I do miss the creative ways people did for others … from afar.

The best of our humanity is linked to the value we put on others – people similar to us as well as those who are very different; some healthy and wealthy as well as those with much less who are struggling. Our highest and best use is to share what we have with others, be they humans or animals. By ‘what we have,’ I mean not just money or stuff, but time and energy devoted to the well-being of others. One of our best purposes is to take care of those who can’t speak for themselves or who are hurting due to circumstances beyond their control.

Our role is a compassionate one. Our role is to lift up and celebrate all of humanity … not just during the holidays but for all the time. Take the spotlight off yourself and let it shine to show the way for others. Your life will be rewarded.

Consider a random act of kindness to complete before the new year arrives. Represent humanity at its best.