On the weekends, I wake up as early, if not earlier, as I typically do during the work week. This is not because I am disciplined, but more likely because I am old. In truth, it is because the weekends are fun for me and there is the hope that I might get to take a nap during the day. I spend the early morning hours either reading or watching documentaries on Netflix while thinking somehow I am better for those activities. Today was no different, except for the fact that I indulged in a documentary on the possibility of civilizations beyond earth and a massive conspiracy to cover those civilizations up and keep them from the public.

There was a great case made for alien technology. There was a great case made for groups of people who might want to keep it secret. And ultimately the question was asked, “What would other worldly life forms think of us?”.

The “us” being the whole of  humanity that inhabits the earth. I suppose that is a question that people have asked, and tried to answer, for centuries. It has inspired many teachers, leaders, and individuals, to encourage the whole of earth’s population to become better versions of themselves. I considered the possibilities of other worldly technology and the great implications it might have. Then, as I often do, I stepped out onto my front porch and found my thoughts immediately transition to simpler things.

My attention was drawn to to two mocking birds raising immortal hell, diving and swooping towards a neighborhood cat, which was simply walking up the street. I am not a cat fan and am a little partial to birds, but I felt sorry for this particular cat. It would stop and turn towards the dive bombers who were making both their presence known and a horrible screeching noise. The cat would walk a few steps and the birds and the cat would repeat the process. This lasted until the cat made it to the base of a Bradford Pear tree in our yard and began to climb.

The noise stopped. The birds flew away. After a minute or two, the cat came down and started walking again without the attention of the mocking birds. I began this story with great conspiracies and am ending with a cat and two birds. But the star of the story is the tree. For you see, with all of our technologies, and with all of our being busy in the world with things that may or may not be important, we can, for some short moment, be a tree for those being dogged (or birded) by life.

The secret of the masters is helping others without anyone knowing. The secret of most of our success stories, is being helped by others, whether we knew it or not. Whether we donate all our income to this cause or another, or whether we listen to a stranger tell us about their troubles for a moment in a convenient store, we can be like the tree was for the cat on my street. While I am, and I say this with honesty, not convinced there is enough desire for justice or mercy on earth to save humanity, I am convince that if it is done, it will be by small actions, in everyday situations, and go mostly unnoticed by all except those that are helped.

I just checked my front yard. The tree is still there. The cat has walked away and the mocking birds have flown to other places. The tree is still there. Whether it is providing shelter or not, it is a place of shelter. It provided shelter for the cat because that is what it is, and after the cat is gone, remains. We may be known by some for the things we do, we are able to live with ourselves because of what we are.

And just a side note to end. Most of you are great oak trees that think of yourselves as acorns. You are, by virtue of being you, providing shelter to so many already. Though you do not help others for gratitude, I will say “thank you”, not on my behalf, but on the behalf of those that smile when they remember you. On behalf of those, when needing an example of kindness in order to hang on, have bumped into you. Those that are, without they or you knowing, have become great because of your example. You are perpetuating a conspiracy of kindness. When it is all said and done, that is the only conspiracy I enjoy.

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