Consider the legend of the Lamed-Vov, 36 righteous people whose job it is to carry the weight of human suffering. No one knows who they are, including the lamedvovnik themselves. Not knowing makes it important to behave as if you might be one AND to treat others as if they might be. Why? Because if there are less than 36 lamedvovnik, the world will collapse.
Taking this legend to heart creates a new awareness for me. I have a significant responsibility, as we all do, to treat people with compassion, understanding and empathy. What if I am one of the lamedvovnik? What if the bus driver, the baker, or the old man slowly crossing the street in front of me is a member? Thinking this way, it is important I do my part to behave righteously, which begins with my smallest actions. When I behave with kindness, I plant positive seeds.
We are continually inventing what is available to us as individuals, and collectively we are continually inventing what is available to us as a species. I am someone who believes that our individual power to have doors be open for us, individually and collectively, rests in how we behave, how we act, talk and think, in the present moment, in the kindness of our actions.
For a final dose of inspiration along these lines and to see the power of small acts of kindness (or thoughtfulness), take a minute to watch this TV commercial. Like that one? Then look at this one, too.