The Covid pandemic bothers me because I feel there are things that I could be doing to help people live through it and prosper. To help others live, and live more abundantly, is a guiding rule for everyone, but it has its consequences of creating obligations. The pursuit of small good actions is worthwhile because there are many more opportunities to do small things than big ones. For example, in today’s newspaper, there was a report of a woman who saw a child fall into a local river, and she immediately jumped in after it and perhaps saved its life. I have only had one opportunity to do such a big good deed like that and I failed, and the kid drowned. A teenager whom I had spoken to a couple of times walked some fifty yards away after our last conversation wandering along the Pacific Ocean and went out into the surf. But he didn’t know how to swim and his friend ran back to me and asked me to save him. By the time we ran back, the kid had vanished. I swam out into the ocean with my eyes open underwater but never saw him. About three minutes later, after a small crowd had formed, but no one was swimming out, the kid drifted ashore. I swam back and with some help held the kid high in the air by the feet to drain the water out of his lungs. He had breathed water. People have rarely revived who breathe in water. I gave him artificial respiration until the ambulance arrived, but he died.
Those kinds of events are rare, but little good deeds are ubiquitous and I do lots of little things for the general public to make all of their lives a tiny bit better. Just little things to set things back in their proper places. And being kind to people I encounter as is socially acceptable.
It isn’t necessary to be seen doing these things or acknowledged for doing them because when you develop a habit of being kind the greatest recipient of your habitual kindness is yourself. As Marcus Aurelius wrote,
Be satisfied with success in even the smallest matter, and think that even such a result is no trifle.