It seems likely that humans, and even some other species of mammals, have consoled others forever in history with food and other comfort at times of loss and grief. There have been many long standing traditions and examples throughout history and in many diverse cultures of this custom. This has been so common in the past that we even developed a term for the practice…”comfort food” although the term has been given a different spin today.
At times of extreme loss and otherwise unconsolable grief, the act of preparing and sharing our food has always been a sign of support more than just the act of feeding someone else. Everyone knows that food doesn’t actually heal the pain of loss or make anyone forget what they are feeling. It is just a quite and gentle way of showing a little bit of empathy, care and concern for others in their time of need. And it is demonstrated by more than just humans.
Recently an elephant, named Tarra, who lives in a 2,700 acre elephant sanctuary in Tennessee lost her long-time best friend, Bella, who was a dog. You may have seen some of the national television coverage of this unusual but very strong and dedicated friendship. In the recent past, Bella suffered a spinal cord injury and for 3 weeks Bella was unable to come outside. Tarra held constant vigil near the building where she last saw Bella taken. When the two were united, it was a palpable and heart warming video that made the national news. You can watch the story on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2oYOvx8lTY&feature=related. Recently, Bella was apparently killed by some coyotes. But the sanctuary managers found Bella’s body near the building where Bella had been taken to heal during her spinal cord injury. Later the sanctuary managers found the site where the coyotes had mauled Bella some distance away. While no one saw her do it, most who know the pair are convinced that Tarra brought Bella the where she hoped her best friend could be healed. Here is the rest of the story, though. Sensing the despair and grieving that Tarra has been exhibiting since Bella’s death, other elephants are bringing Tarra their food for comfort.
Similarly, many families have a wonderful tradition of never visiting the home of another without bringing some sort of gift. It doesn’t have to be a lavish, large or even an expensive gift. Maybe it is flowers, a prayer or a warm smile. The main thing is to let the host of your visit know that you come with their well-being in your mind and in your heart.
While there are many other examples of what people do for each other, these are the little things in life that build bonded friendships and make a difference in the lives of those we care about. And apparently, by watching Tarra and Bella for years, this holds true as a matter of natural instinct across other species.
So, why is it that these little things make such a difference between friends? And what does it say about us, as humans when we do, or don’t, take time from our busy lives to connect with our neighbors, extend a gift on a visit or bring food to those in need? When is the last time you took an opportunity to do so?
It has often been said that “no one is an island”. We could add that “no one is an island, unless they choose to be”. One of the greatest gifts that God has given to us humans is the power of choice. When we use our power of choice to do the little things that create a warm, heart-felt reaction from others, well…even in the midst of sorrow…life just doesn’t get much better.
What are the little differences you will gift to others?
Dave McSpadden is a forward thinking researcher, author, professional speaker, seminar leader and mastermind coach whoʼs professional services center around helping active baby boomers achieve peak performance at every age. Dave is dedicated to teaching baby boomers to use their God-given gift of the power of choice to develop the critical areas of their spiritual balance, mental fitness and brain function, physical fitness, vital health, emotional well being, relationships, financial independence and their decision making skills.
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