Day 141 Question 141:
What is a random act of kindness that you have recently been exposed to?
I love to see random people just perform these acts of kindness and goodness. I watched a documentary called Beyond Belief last night and it was focused on two women that befriended each other because their husbands were on one of the planes that crashed into the Twin Towers on that dreaded day of September 11, 2001. These two women were raising money for Afghanistan widows. The beauty of this documentary and of these two women is that they chose to spread love instead of hate. September 11, 2001 has to be one of the worst days in history. I cannot reflect on that day without getting choked up. I am from the state of NY and that day it was as if everything stopped. I was in college at the time and classes were canceled for the day and phone lined were completely jammed with everyone calling their loved ones. That day could make it easy to immediately feel a sense of hatred…an understandable and almost validated hatred. Muslin extremists took it upon themselves to take the lives of thousands of human beings young and old. These two women knew that although they experienced a deep, emotional pain from losing their husbands, that hatred was not the answer. None of the terrorists that were on those planes actually resides in Afghanistan…they trained there. They learned about the women of Afghanistan and learned the horrific conditions under which they were living. They learned about the fear that these women lived under and how terrifying their lives could be on a daily basis. These are women that lived so minimally under conditions that no human being should live under. In this documentary these two women visited Afghanistan and during this visit they realized how important it was to help support these women. They knew that they could raise money for people in the United States but they also realized that we are all human beings in this world and these women needed their help. By giving these women just $28, they would be able to send their children to school for a year. They didn’t want to just give these widows money and leave….they showed they different trades and life skills so these women could make money and be able to feed and clothe their children. One woman told her story and she had lost 7 of her sons to starvation because she was unable to provide for her family after her husband was killed.
Given the choice between violence and love these two women chose love. It would be easy for these women to hate all people of Afghanistan but they knew that was the wrong choice. They could not hate all for the actions of only a few. They knew the pain and anguish of losing someone they loved and their journey showed them a life outside of their own. I felt such a strong wave of emotions when watching this documentary because 9/11 was such a horrific, emotional day. Every time I see or hear anything about that day, I feel like shallowness in my chest and tears immediately form in my eyes. Innocent people were lost. It would be easy to be angry and hateful but there are innocent people all over the world that are tortured or killed or have their loved ones ripped from them in mere moments. I never want to choose hate because some people made some really bad decisions…I cannot blame all for the choices of some…it is just not a fair thing to do. Watching these women living in Afghanistan living in conditions that seem so unreal, made me have a MUCH greater appreciation for everything I have. These women wanted the two American women to stay in contact with them after they left and asked them to send pictures of their homes, and work places and children. One of the women broke down and told them how she did not want to send those these because it just seemed so unfair that she had so much and they had so little. The women from Afghanistan told her to not feel bad for what she had…she deserved those things because of the goodness in her heart. These women reached out and there were so many lessons to be learned. As human beings, we make a lot of assumptions and judgments and it is in times like these that we learn how wrong we can sometimes be.
I have to admit that for a very long time I had been very ignorant of so many things that were going on in the world. I was closed off in my little bubble and it was as if nothing else really existed. At some point, for some reason I was drawn to wanting to know about life outside of me. I exposed myself to reality and I realized that this reality was not always a pretty picture. My heart ached when I started to learn about what was going on in the big world outside of me. I started to change because something inside of me was pulling me to learn as much as possible (and I admit to still being uneducated and ignorant to some things) and to try to do my part…even if it is something really small…even if it is just these words on this screen right now bringing awareness to the people that read them.
I know I tend to say the same things over and over again but so desperately inside of me I want this world to start believing and practicing love more than hate. I don’t have the answers or the solutions to the world’s problems but it absolutely breaks me that violence and murder have become a solution. Parents are torn away from their children and loved ones are senselessly killed and the pain and anguish can be unbearable. That is just not fair and not right. Violence, war and crime should never have become a normal part of life ANYWHERE. I believe that this is the same way these two American women were thinking when they decided to take on this mission of helping widows in Afghanistan. No matter where someone comes from, no one deserves to have someone they love taken away by violence or murder. We, as people, are better than that…whether some people believe it or not we really are. Violence and hatred are learned…I choose to show love and teach love in hopes that the people around me will focus on those things…even through the hardest of times. Hatred has become too easy. I ask of you, my friends (all friends…whether in person or virtual) to please choose love over hate. Walk away instead of choosing anger. Ask questions before assuming. Think about your life and reflect on those individuals living in severe poverty and fear every single day and ask yourself how bad your life really is. These are the answers I do have and deep down in the core of my being, I believe if more people did these simple things we would see changes….they may be small and they may be slow but changes are changes no matter how you look at it.
About the organization these two women formed:
Beyond the 11th is a non-profit organization that provides support to widows in Afghanistan who have been afflicted by war, terrorism & oppression.
Founded by two American women whose husbands were killed on September 11th, our mission is to reach beyond differences of culture and geography to embrace the most essential of connections: humanity.
Afghan widows are highly vulnerable and trapped in an ever-deepening cycle of extreme poverty and helplessness. Beyond the 11th funds programs that help widows gain the skills necessary to generate their own income and become self-sufficient. We strongly believe that education and empowerment are the keys to creating lasting social change.