Building an ARK (Act of Random Kindness)

Some may remember the 2007 Steve Carell and Morgan Freeman movie Evan Almighty, and the reference to building an ARK (see I was recently reminded of this when I was pulling off the freeway earlier this week and stuck at a stop light. The exit happens to be by a high school and I was getting the usual “after school” rush of humanity making a mass exodus from the campus. On the corner of the exit also happened to be a man with his worldly possessions, and a sign asking for any help. Incidentally, he was reading a book. From my first impression, I assumed this man was homeless. His clothes appeared soiled and worn, his face was dirty, and his hair was matted. As I observed high school students walking across the street, many of which avoiding the man on the corner, I witnessed an ARK. A group of three teenage boys were about to cross the street when one of them turned back and approached the homeless man. The homeless man seemed surprised when the boy approached, but this did not seem to bother the youth. The young man took out a few dollar bills out of his pocket, took the homeless man’s hand in his own, and put the money in his hands before closing his hands around it. I couldn’t tell what the youth said to the older man, but I could see the homeless man was somewhat shocked. The young man didn’t wait for the homeless man to respond, but simply walked away quickly to catch up to his two friends waiting across the street. The homeless man’s only response was to wave at the teen before returning to his reading. What the boy demonstrated was an ARK, an Act of Random Kindness, as was mentioned in the 2007 Carell/Freeman movie.

There are several ways of calling an ARK what it is – a random act of kindness, paying it forward, karma… you get the idea. I choose to call it an ARK because it is something that can build into something beyond the act itself. When we commit such acts of kindness randomly, I believe we are building up something bigger than ourselves. We commit to making this place, this moment, this shared space called Earth a more manageable, livable, and loving place. In Books Two and Three of The Last Prophet series (Michael’s Mission, and Raphael’s Journey), the main character talks about what it means to be our “brother’s keeper” and to be “beholden to our neighbor” as expressions of love, mercy, and kindness. These are contrary to what the world tells us – don’t trust, look out for #1, survival of the fittest. The culture of “it’s all about me” is not what makes this world a safe place to live, according to the main character in the book. Taking care of one another because “we’re all in this together” is the way our Creator intended (taken from The Last Prophet, Michael’s Mission). Whether you believe your Creator is called God, Father, Almighty, Allah, Creator, Higher Power, Jehovah, or Jesus Christ, one thing remains. We, meaning ALL of us, are here for a purpose, and we must exist amongst each other until we expire. Why not make the time we have together meaningful? Why not continue building on the ARK?

Instead of a question this week, I have a challenge. My challenge is for you to commit to one Act of Random Kindness daily, and reflect on the person you are upon committing that act. It has to be random, so no planning it out. It has to be something that causes you to go out of your way, but without hesitation in doing so. Let me know how your week turns out when that happens. I’d love to know how you are building your ARK and making the world that much more loving.

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