Reflection #6

“The Importance of Trees”

Perhaps the reason why there are so few visitors at the nursing home is because people fail to see the value in it. Anyone could explain the value to society in feeding the hungry, or working with children. And those are definitely worthwhile endeavors. But what about visiting some forgotten old people, living out the rest of their lives in a nursing home? How does that benefit society?

Well, first we could argue that it benefits society because we will all be old someday. And we all hope that someone will come to visit us someday when we are old and forgotten.

But there is another even more important benefit, described in the passage below:

“The other day our children were telling me about the importance of trees. If they were not always releasing oxygen, they explained, life on earth would perish. A person whose mind is free from negative thinking spreads life-giving oxygen in much the same way. On a smoggy day in California, the trees along the freeway look gray and drab in the haze; they do not seem to add anything valuable to the landscape. Yet if they were gone, our big cities could suffocate from their own activity. In the same way, although a selfless man or woman may seem to go through the day doing nothing extraordinary, such people are life-giving. Without them, nothing would revitalize the atmosphere in which we think.”

From “The Little Lamp” by Eknath Easwaran

Agreeing to visit a complete stranger in need is such a beautiful, selfless act. Although your visit to the nursing home this week may be nothing extraordinary, remember that selfless acts like these inspire others and revitalize the world in which we live.