Here’s a good question for you to ponder. What do loving kindness and peace have to do with each other?
The other day I was riding a tram and on my way into the city to meet a friend for dinner. It was a really hot day and even at 6:00 there was still little relief.
Needless to say, the seats that are closest to the open windows are at a premium.
What often happens though, just as it did on this day, it doesn’t take very long for the tram to fill up with people getting out of work and heading home or to the city to meet friends etc.
When that happens, whether you are near an open window or not, it can get stifling and people tend to stay in one spot and try their hardest not to move and exert any energy!
However, on this one particular day, just as the tram was filling up, we stopped at a designated stop and there were 2 young women standing there each holding a very large suitcases.
One of the women approached the tram driver to inquire if his tram would take them to their designated meeting place with their friends.
As she approached the tram, we who were sitting in front saw that she had a very noticeable limp as one of her legs was quite underdeveloped.
The driver of course noticed too and instead of making her climb the steps to speak with him, he immediately opened the door to his little cubby, and walked down the steps to her. We could all hear the discussion which became quite lengthy as he was describing to these two visitors what their options were for transportation.
He said his goodbyes, and re-entered his control room. However, before restarting the tram, he once again opened his door and went to speak with them again, asking for more detailed questions about where they needed to go.
All the while this is taking place, I am watching a woman sitting across from me shaking her head ‘no’ back and forth which I interpreted as her being very unhappy at the delay that this was causing. She seemed irritated for sure.
She looked up and me and I smiled at her with an understanding smile. Then, she took out her phone and what I assumed was a text to perhaps someone she was meeting, she started to type and scroll.
The driver came back, got to the top of the stairs and then turned to the girls and said, come here and I will take you as far as I can to get you as close as possible.
He then reached for the first suitcase to help them and suddenly, three others including myself, hopped off the tram to do the same with the other and we ushered them onto the tram, secured the suitcases and of course, gave them our seats so they would be right up in front.
The woman who I thought was irritated suddenly says to the driver, ” I think I have found a really good route for them to take that will get them there in time.” Then, two other passengers chimed in and said they had found some options as well.
The driver and these other interested parties conferred and made a decision on the route that should be taken and shared it with the girls. You could watch the disbelief cross their faces. Who were all these people reaching out to help them?
They just stared at each other with looks of amazement. As each person who left the tram wished them safe and happy journeys, I started to laugh and said to the girls, “Now you know how precious you are!”
Across the aisle was a very elderly woman with a cane. When she heard me say that, she smiled up at me and I smiled back in a way that told her that I knew she understood the true meaning of those words.
When she stood up at the next stop to get off, she turned to me, smiled again and said, “Yes, you are.”
At that moment, I felt a deep, deep sense of peace move through me, a peace founded in the connection that I felt with all of those strangers that surrounded me and as I looked around, meeting the eyes of everyone in our little enclave, I realized we were all smiling at each other.
I couldn’t help but think about the domino effect of how just a little loving kindness from our tram operator changed so much for each of us.
We were like dominos perfectly aligned.
One little push with the finger and we all touched the hearts of the one next to us, even a bit giddy with the game. Not only did it give each of us an opportunity to shine our own hearts with our own little loving kindness, but I have to say, it may have been the ride of a lifetime too because I think we all learned something that day!
So, what did we learn? That a little loving kindness goes a long, long way…
…and of course, it’s a choice that you make to either extend your love or to withhold it.
So, my question to each of you is, what might you experience if you played a little loving kindness game too?
Dominos come in all shapes and sizes but they all fall into place the same way!