We are all a heartbeat away from doing something good


Tuesday June 25th

We are all only a heartbeat away from doing something good…

woken up by pale fingers of early sunlight curling around the bedroom curtains… 5.45am hmmm…

lay quietly and watched it travelling lazily across the wardrobe mirror hoping that Pan would not perceive my wakefulness with that annoying talent for sending their minds through closed doors that cats have.

No luck… I was rumbled, maybe I breathe differently when I’m awake.

Plaintive yowling and wanton carpet destruction dragged me from my duvet and I stumbled upstairs to wrestle with cat food pouches whilst he casually pulled at my hair. Cally cat still fast asleep, being deaf she operates on her own timetable of eating, sleeping and tree gymnastics.

Made a coffee and went back to bed to check the duvet wasn’t getting lonely… at some point I turned on radio 4 which burbled on soothingly (yes, I do find the today programme soothing, I’m weird like that..) until I heard this line during thought for the day…

We are all only a heartbeat away from doing something good…

I have so often heard that anyone could be capable of evil given the right circumstances but it’s odd that this is the first time I have heard the same about goodness. And it’s true that we spend a great deal of time imagining the worst that can happen and framing our view of our fellow human beings in terms of suspicion that we can easily forget, that like you and me, most people are instinctively humane and helpful, even to those they don’t yet know…

I try to hold on to that thought, hold it as I listen to horrors on the news, hold it when something happens that shakes my confidence in the truth of it and hold it as I see pictures posted on facebook of animals having altruistic relationships with strangers of another species with comments suggesting we have much to learn from them and why aren’t people like this…

I have no doubt that we have an enormous amount to learn from every single being who lives on the earth with us but we already know how to be selflessly compassionate and caring. It is in every single one of us to walk around a snail in our path, to smile at people in the street, to offer help to someone struggling with a pushchair onto a bus and to rescue a child separated from his mother by a rogue tube train door as happened to me in London once… even to risk our lives for a total stranger.

We are all only a heartbeat away from doing something good...

it’s a good thought that one and I’m holding it. 🙂


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