Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for . . . Xenodochial

Image Courtesy: Raj Manchekar
My dearest darlings,
In your book, X is for Xylophone. You have a toy one. Each wooden bar is of a different colour, seemingly a stranger to the other, and yet they resound together and make sweet music.


They stand together, their arms around each other's shoulders, propping each other up. And they remind me of a word that I want to draw your attention to. Xenodochial is a word of Greek origin and means being hospitable or kindly to strangers.


We are all strangers at some time or the other. Strangers in a foreign land, strangers in our own land, feeling lost and helpless. We've stepped out of the comfort of our homes, where they know us and put up with our quirks. We are unsure of what to do, and we hope someone will notice our predicament and help us.


Yes, we are all strangers sometimes.


I remember an act of kindness done to your Uncle A. He was standing in queue, waiting to pay his fees and secure his admission to an engineering college. Suddenly he received the news that the final amount to be paid was Rs X, as opposed to Rs Y, as intimated earlier. He found himself short of a few thousand rupees. And it was the last day of the admission procedure.


Those were the late '80s. There were very few ATMs around. Your Uncle A had no option but to return home and wait for your Papa to go to the bank and withdraw money. There was no way he would be able to retain his admission.


Of course, Papa was at work, and the rest of us were at home, so we had no idea about the insecurities and fears that suddenly took a stranglehold of him.


And yet he came home, bursting with joy.


Apparently, the mother of a fellow applicant standing by in the queue offered to pay the balance for him. Just like that. It was a big amount in those days. And yet she offered to pay it. Of course, Uncle A repaid the money once college began.


I often think of that woman. Of her large heart and her act of kindness for a total stranger. Of the way she gave without worrying about whether she would see her money again.


There are many kinds of kindness. Some require us to part with our money, others require our time or our energy. Sometimes they may brighten someone's day. Or they may alter someone's life.


Every day, we face numerous opportunities to help someone we don't know. Someone who may or may not be in a position to repay our kindness.


Are we ready to give without hesitation?



My wish for you is that you may never forget that we are all in need of kindness. And as He said, the measure we give is the measure in which we will get.


That's all for this week.


I'll see you on Monday. Meanwhile, we'll read our much-thumbed Winnie the Pooh together, and you, my darlings, can teach me to laugh until my sides hurt.


Lots and lots of love,



Mamma








19 comments:

  1. I wrote exact opposite to this which is xenophobic
    Didn't know xenodochial also exists
    Thanks for new word and new lesson how ever I won't be able to trust a stranger easily ;)

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  2. The kindness of strangers is a huge blessing and how much better if we can be a blessing to someone else!

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  3. I love reading stories like this. There are so many examples of other's loving kindness.

    Have fun with the rest of a-z. :)

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  4. Kindness is great lesson we can teach our kids cuz in today's world its rather rare !

    See you Monday Cynthia :)

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  5. I was wonderign what you will write for X. And you have come up with something so lovely ! Kindness of strangers is indeed a blessing !

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  6. With al the atrocities in our country most of the tourists have xenophobia towards us I think

    PhenoMenon
    http://capturedalive.wordpress.com/2013/04/27/xpicture/

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  7. we could so do with such heart warming stories of goodness and kindness :)

    loved this post :D

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  8. In America, they have this tradition that takes place randomly of paying it forward! So, random strangers do a kind act to you and their only wish is that you do a kind act to another person whom you may not even know! This way, a whole neighborhood, street, or even a city feels the kindness for at least one day!
    It's a beautiful sentiment and makes you feel so much better at the end of the day!

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  9. Random acts of kindness goes a long way in enriching our lives.

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  10. Ohh that was such a beautiful post conveyed so well. Kindness is one lesson we should never forget :)

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  11. Acts of kindness towards others leave both the person and us happy and smiling throughout the day! A very important lesson... and a good one for X :)

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  12. What a beautiful human being. Thank God He sends us these people who I think are His angels in disguise.

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  13. Helping strangers seem to a bit weird at times... but when we do that, the happiness just spreads around.

    Great lesson. :)

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  14. Nice word and a nice thought presented in a lovely way. This A to Z challenge is really good. This is my first visit to your blog.

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  15. Conversely, an act of ingratitude or anger carries forward like a tsunami, multiplying till a whole lot of people feel the ill effects. Wonder why we don't feel the need to pay the kindness forward? I for one before I sleep think of one good thing I did. Usually ends up helping mom or a neighbor or my kids, but reminds me that charity and kindness begins at home :)

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  16. Conversely, an act of ingratitude or anger carries forward like a tsunami, multiplying till a whole lot of people feel the ill effects. Wonder why we don't feel the need to pay the kindness forward? I for one before I sleep think of one good thing I did. Usually ends up helping mom or a neighbor or my kids, but reminds me that charity and kindness begins at home :)

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  17. Great lesson, and so true.

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

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  18. Sometimes it's easier to be kind to strangers than it is to be kind to members of our own family. I guess that's because we know our family members way too well. :D

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  19. I have always known a warm feeling when I've extended a helping hand to a stranger. It truly can't be described and I believe they are gold coins you collect that you trade when you need some divine help. Lovely post.

    Dropping by from AtoZ
    BlogwatiG

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