9 May 1958
The needs human services and considerations that are purchased with money, because you have money, can never bring the satisfaction of soul that comes from the impulsive, nonprofit promptings of human kindness. An important or wealthy man may have people do kindly deeds for him, but he may never really be sure whether they are prompted out of plain tribute to him as a person, or reverence for his position or power frequently. Without much position or power, if other humans are thoughtful, kind, and considerate, a man feels more some affection for, a recognition of his own deeds or personality values.
Simple appreciation or thoughtfulness, just because a personality attracts, is the pure ore of the touching, or recognizing of qualities within humans that seem far removed from the ordinary dog eat dog daily self can discern the process of daily existence.
I don’t know exactly what I mean when I say this, because when I understand a thought well, I can give simple examples to clarify my meanings. I am puzzled at this moment how to simply illustrate with words the essence of this thought.
It has something to do with acts you don’t have to do, but you do because of some inner prompting. They are not expected, required, or necessary to make one quite acceptable to society, if you didn’t do them. Something like that, anyway. The expression “beyond the call of duty” comes to mind.
Yes, that’s coming closer. For instance: the very fact that Elizabeth Cardas, who asks ideas be sent to her through the mail, called me personally when I called the Fashion Institute and stated my desire to explain about Lillian Jacobs and why I couldn’t write a letter. Calling me personally was a great consideration of my predicament. Sending me the planter went far down the road, beyond the call of duty.
It is this kind of act, I am talking about in dealing with this morning subject. I think in the Bible there is something about the man who was asked to walk a mile with another man but instead of a mile he walked 2 miles with him.
Hazel of Cleveland College comes back to my mind. Surprising! I never knew her, but at that early impressionable age, I saw her do something extra, beyond the call of duty, for someone else. And it has remained with me through all these years. I don’t even remember the actor service she performed. I never knew her or even talked with her. She must’ve been in one of my classes, because although I remember her name was Hazel, I did not know her well enough to know her last name.
One drops a pebble in the water, and one never knows where some tiny, chance little ripple finds an niche in another’s lifetime. Maybe none of the mass of other ripples stirred up hit any mark. But then again, one little bitty ripple may influence someone for a lifetime.
It is so in nature to. Hundreds of thousands of seeds fall every year. Very few germinate and grow. And, of those few, many sprout meekly and the minute few of the whole lot of seeds ever grow into strong sturdy oak trees.
I’ll have to try and keep this whole thought in mind if I ever get discouraged about values and people.
If I have trouble, some problems about human behavior in the future, I’m going to have to try to find some parallel to the realm of natural phenomena as best my knowledge is of it . . .. Always I’ll have to try to find out my answers not in the human being realm, but in the realm of some natural animal, vegetable, or mineral category – some earthly natural category, laying the strictly human category aside; like a scientist, a biologist, a geologist, and astronomer. . . whatever have you, observes his field of interest. Perhaps in this way, I can find answers to the strictly human riddles, or what seemed to be solely human riddles of human behavior, thus understanding may be better, human causation.
Thread seems to run through these hospital recovery jottings. They stem from my 5/5/58 first writing the night I was so miserable, and Nancy spilled ink over the bedspread, the floor, and her favorite nightgown.
The only word of caution here is to remember that with some people, their lack of knowledge, their poorly developed spiritual values in such, that if too much is done for such a purpose as to help them grow, the opposite effect is obtained, and you do them no good – only harm. This is in the case of a person really classes you as a “soft touch,” a “sucker,” and has no respect for the “beyond the call of duty” bit.
To him you are open hunting season for sap. The more you do for such a person, the less respect he has for you, or your ideas. On such and such a person you only waste your time, I believe, and strengthen his more of objectionable characteristics.
Of course, experience and judgment of a very careful nature is called upon to evaluate situations of this kind.