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Posts Tagged ‘Mahatma Gandhi’

Abraham Lincoln once said, “A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.” In my world, that would read “… when he stoops to help a child or an animal.

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Those of you who know me personally know my deep involvement with animals. It began so, so long ago. As soon as I could stand, I was toddling up to animals. I am drawn helplessly to them by a sheer and invisible magnetic force. Our lives are intertwined in ways I cannot even describe. Needless to say, I am deeply touched when any of us rises to the occasion and helps our animal friends.

I pulled the photos posted from an e-mail forwarded by a friend. As is often the case in these e-mails, the photos have been collected from all over the internet and their source is never known. So here I thank all of you, whoever you are, for taking these wonderful and inspiring photographs. They make me proud to be a human on this often-struggling, sometimes cruel, sometimes compassionate planet we call Earth.

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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

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“True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which is deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.”
― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

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“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” ― Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod

Merry Christmas.

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“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandi

It sometimes strikes me how often we complain about one thing or another or see behavior we can easily criticize. The world is rapidly changing, and with more and more people involved with texting and their iPhones, etc., it sometimes seems like a less and less friendly world. Certainly, it can seem like a less considerate one.

But really, this is just the current manifestation of what sometimes looks like the breakdown of civilized society. It’s taken on many different faces over the years.

About 16+ years ago, I moved out to this side of the state of New Jersey to a far kinder and gentler life. My county is highly agricultural. There’s still lots of open space, both fields and woods, and it’s inhabited by a lot of people who still have a connection to the land and to nature. It’s a very different mindset than the bustling city, cool as that was when I lived there, or even towns in the suburbs, which still have a very active lifestyle, as did mine.

In my little newfound town in Western NJ was something that, to me,  epitomized the gentler mentality out here … a one way railroad trestle underpass. The trestle is over a well-traveled two-lane blacktop connecting the areas south of it to the very busy Route 78, a mile to the north, which runs across the state, just about into the Hudson River and NYC. What I so loved about this spot was that everyone took turns when they were coming or going under this little one way underpass. “After you.”  “Go ahead,” they waved. Civilization at its best.

Then they started building the McMansions.  With them came a whole lot of people in a big hurry to get to Rt. 78 and their hellish commute to points East. And there went the civility. The motto of these people was “I’m going to get me mine.” And they pushed through, ten cars at a time, if needs be, to make sure they did. But the good thing?

We “locals”, as I suppose we are, didn’t go that route. We kept on waving the next car through the narrow passageway.  If we didn’t get to pass for a few cars, so be it. And I still do that every time I get to that train trestle. Some of the oncoming drivers look surprised. Most wave thanks, just as we all always have. Do those of us who support this small kindness make a difference?There’s no way of knowing. But I still see lots of people taking turns.

What is true, is that by joining the ranks of the inconsiderate and rude, nothing will change for the better. So we can be the change we wish to see in the world, or add to the problem. I believe that whatever we do positive in this world does make a difference. So feel free to wave me on when you get to the underpass, and I’ll do the same for you.

Today, Memorial Day, we can all be a change we’d like to see and it just takes a second and a show of appreciation.  Thank a vet.

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