In October, I ran for my life, as a terrorist in a truck plowed down people on a bike path near my home in Tribeca. I ran with a mass of people clutching my sweet pup Waffle under my arm. People ran into their homes nearby, but I unfortunately had nowhere to run. My home was 10 minutes away and in the direction of the terrorist. I ran into a random apartment building begging the doorman for help as he was locking down the building. Without a thought, he grabbed me and hid me in a closet, handing me an umbrella he said, “I won’t let anyone in, but just in case!” I can’t help but laugh at that moment now. Yes, I was shaken to my core. But kindness won for me that day. Not only did that door man save a stranger, but he gave her the best weapon he could find on hand, an umbrella! I hope you’re picturing me defending myself with an umbrella, because it’s hilarious.
Does living in this world today make me afraid? Yes. This week a man left his car, engine running, in the middle of Broadway, and my heart sank. Then I noticed he was just getting his coffee cart to load onto the back of it. I’m hyper aware living in New York and I hate it. But I must be.
I was afraid to go to Namibia in Africa – a dream trip for my husband, but me, not so much. I judge that statement now. But the fact is, I was afraid. I didn’t wear my wedding ring. We packed only essentials, “nothing too nice,” and off we went. Our journey to Namibia took 25 hours. When we finally arrived to our hotel in Windhoek, the night before our three-day tour into the desert, I was still filled with fear. It wasn’t until the next morning, when Ben, our lovely Namibian guide, arrived with an ear to ear smile exclaiming, “Rachel and Richard welcome to Namibia!” From that moment on, I knew everything was going to be just fine.
Ben drove us through his beautiful country with local stops along the way. As we traveled with Ben I couldn’t help but notice all the little acts of kindness he did. We stopped at a grocery store to buy food for the trip. There was a young boy begging for money. He said to the boy, “you watch the car and I’ll buy you a sandwich.” When we came out of the store Ben was sitting on the curb sharing his lunch with that little boy.
We made a brief stop at a local motel that his cousin worked at. He said; “If it’s okay, I need to stop and say hello to my cousin very quickly? She is very unhappy with her job, her boss is a terrible man and never gives his employees transportation to go into the town. I always stop to see if she needs me to bring her anything, also to tease her a bit, laughter is important Rachel”
AGREED, BEN. Agreed!
And lastly, we saw the tiniest turtle crossing the road. I would have thought it was a rock. Ben hit the brakes… “Well, we better help him!” Picking up the turtle and taking it to the other side of the road. I said to Ben, “That was so sweet how you did that.” He stated firmly to me, “It is not sweet Rachel, that is what we do on this planet, we look out for each other.”
We look out for each other. I share this because not only was Namibia an amazing country, but like travel always does for me it shows me the truth. The world we are living in, is scary, but it is also wonderful. People are wonderful. My heart hurts a lot lately when I watch the news, but that will not change the fact that each day I wake up and choose kindness. I choose to SEE kindness. I believe that love is more powerful than fear.
Marriane Williamson states; “we’re all assigned a corner of the universe that is ours to transform. Our corner of the universe is our own life- our relationships, our homes, our work, our current circumstances –exactly as they are. Every situation we find ourselves in is an opportunity to teach love, instead of fear.”
It is my hope that like Ben, like the doorman in Tribeca, we can all keep inspiring each other to bring less fear and more love to our little corners of the world.