These days, it’s been easy to get irritated. I realized I have gotten more jaded and impatient than usual, even at work. “What? Little Kenny is crying at our after-school program because his grandpa is ill? Argh! If only these kids would think about the inevitable progression of age before they bond with their relatives!” Then my right hand locks into the claw position. Whenever I get enraged, my right hand ends up in the The Claw position, which is bad for driving but great to use as a makeshift comb in order to achieve the hard-to-create “Vegan Who Just Woke Up” sexy look.
This week, however, many inspiring things happened, and I am slowly starting to have faith in the universe again. On Tuesday, one of my staff had a rock thrown into her car, which smashed her passenger window. I sent out an email to the senior staff to start an office collection to help Kim pay for the repairs. During break, Mr. Nguyen, our 86-year-old volunteer who has been working to support his grown-up children and grandchildren, who just arrived from Vietnam, approached my desk. “Huy,” he said, “this is to help Kim with her window.” He gave me ten dollars. He makes very little and has been saving every penny to support his family. Each day he brings in a modest lunch of some rice or a sandwich and maybe a tangerine. Once a while he gives me his tangerine. I held the bill and stared at it, moved by the gesture, while he went back to his desk to file papers.
Today, I learned of a photography project that teaches the blind to take pictures. You can see the pictures here. Some of them are pretty incredible, showing a beauty that is breathtaking in its poignancy. Someone blind, learning to take pictures to show people who can see, learning lighting and composition and having faith in the feedback given to them. It’s inspiring, and the captions are often moving. Of one picture, an image of a cloudy sky with the sun peaking through: “It was my first time in Trafalgar Square and I thought if I took the picture of the people there, it would mean nothing to me, but if I took a picture of the sky I would remember it and it is a record of the temperature on that day.”
With all the craziness and suffering in the world, it is easy to be jaded. Looking at the bill Mr. Nguyen handed to me, and browsing the pictures taken by the blind photographers, I was filled with the warmth in knowing that people are generally good, and that the drive to create is strong and capable of overcoming any obstacle. Slowly my hand started to unclaw.
Write back with any inspiring story you have. I’ll compile the stories and publish a book called “Jagged Noodles for the Soul.”