Are There Really Such Things as Selfless Acts?

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I once watched an episode of “Friends”, the one where Joey and Phoebe had that arguments whether or not selfless acts do exist in this world.

It was funny back then, and still is now. The reason is because I still can’t, neither could Phoebe even after she let a bee stunk herself, find one human act that fall in that criteria. Humans, the so-called homo economicus us, apparently just can’t do anything without thinking of ourself 🙂

Let me tell you another story of mine.

Why, you ask? I have lots of them, and got this itch to tell them to random people. I am like that Grandma we all know too well. That’s why.

So here goes…

I had a neighbor back in my folk’s place, a nice lady and her husband in his wheelchair. He passed away bout 3 years ago, and now his wife living in their home by herself.

The couple’s story is so sad actually, and if it was up to me, I’d write up a movie scene for everyone to know and take lesson for.

The wife was 18 when she got married, to the husband who was 11 years older, and it was, just like most of marriage in their time, an arranged one.

One night, couple of days after the wedding day, the husband was out to pick up something for his wife. He loved her, I suppose. Since it was night, and raining heavy, but instead of leaving the next morning, he left that night itself.

Long story short: he met with accident, and got paralyzed since then until the next 50 years and more.

My mom said he got stroke too, because he never leave from his wheelchair, nor ever anyone heard him speaking (he yelled in unclear words to kids walking near their garden though. I was one of those kids). No one explained to us about private property, so… moving on.

So, that 18 years old girl ended up taking care of her newly wedded husband, until he passed away almost 60 years later.

Everybody of course admired her golden heart for willing to do that. I was never really sure if their wealth came from the husband or the wife family, cos with medicines cost and everything, it must have been hard for the wife who was only a government teacher for kids in elementary school.

I so often saw her sitting in that lazy chair, not angry nor smiling to us walking through her yard. She was like this half-dead, walking and standing without so much knowing what’s going around her.

I visited her with my parents in Eid after her husband passed away, I remember as a young teenager, thinking how stupid was it wasting practically your whole life for a person I hardly believe she ever loved.

Until some recent things happening in my life, got me remember this lady and to reconsider that thought.

She probably was not stupid (and I still refuse to believe someone would do that for 60 years to a person she barely know, solely out of a kind and pure heart), so there has got to be another explanation, and there is!

Had the husband got that accident on the way home from his mistress place, or to do anything else but picking out his wife’s stuff.. her life might have been all different.

It was guilt that kept her doing what she did for almost 60 years non-stop, what forbidding her from putting her husband to a clinical house (where he might have got a better care, and a more suited environment, that he actually could afford). She did all those since she yearned for her own peace, to be able to heal and tame her own guilt.

The lesson?

Actually this is one of those posts where I am just writing what’s in my mind, where you might wanna sue me for last 2 minutes you wasted reading them. I apologize.

But I guess if there was a lesson to this story, is accepting that our acts of kindness might not be as pure as we thought they were. Second is to just remind all of us to not let guilt ruin everything else in life. We make mistakes, and sometime the only thing left to do about them is to apologize, dust yourself off, and move on.

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Mama of three wonderful little souls who’re probably ransacking her house right about now.

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