Sky News online carried this story today:
An Australian man who stopped countless people from jumping to their deaths at a notorious Sydney beauty spot called ‘The Gap’ has died…
Mr Ritchie would simply walk up to people standing close to the edge and ask gently: “Is there something I could do to help you?” which would often be enough to make people rethink their actions…
He told his daughter an offer of help “was all that was often needed to turn people around, and he would say not to underestimate the power of a kind word and a smile”
Hundreds of people have been saved from a needless death by the kindness of this man. He was on the alert for those in need. He didn’t leave the responsibility to others. He acted with kindness and a smile.
I may never know the undercurrents of hurt, anguish, fear and torment that flow in the lives of those I meet. But maybe a word of kindness and a smile can lift them a little. I have noticed that miserable looking check out assistants, for example, often brighten up and become lively and engaging, when I smile and say something pleasant to them.
Don Ritchie has been a challenge to me to maintain a caring attitude and not be shy to ask: “Is there something I can do to help you?”
I had not long finished posting Are we listening to the Signals? when I visited one of my favourite design sites, CreativeMYK.com. There I saw a beautiful piece of art work made by Sandy Lee. The image, and the sentiments expressed by Sandy echoed my own today, that I just had to quote her.
“Downcast Hearts”, Acrylic, Tempera, & Paper on Canvas, painted on 11/23/10. I have been inspired by the thought of comforting people lately.
People have different ways of expressing sadness… some shut down, some get mean, and some are depressed or upset. As Christians, we are to love our neighbor, and I think many people are caught up in the moment and don’t realize what is really happening when a person is expressing hurt in their heart. Many times, we take meanness or upsetness personally and say something nasty back, or simply ignore the people who are depressed or shut down.
This painting is meant as a message to Christians: downcast hearts are meant to be loved and nurtured and cherished, not rejected or ignored. Let us love our neighbor! ?