altruism: (definition) acting for the good of another to the exclusion of one's own interests
This word has comes up several times in the book I've been reading, Patriotic Grace. (Yes, I know I've been reading that book forever...I have kids and am busy, what can I say?) The author, Peggy Noonan, often talks about the 9/11 firefighters being altruistic and focused solely on saving lives...even to the end of their own. Going into the towers and rescuing people down stairways...with no regard for what their political stance was or their religious belief or whatever. Just save lives. Just help. Just do what you can for another human being.
Altruism. I experienced it on Friday.
Silas and I went on a special outing to the Miramar Air Show to see the Blue Angels. After we found our seats in the grandstands and enjoyed watching an aerobatic bi-plane, we noticed a man in the front row about 7 rows below us fall to the ground. My first reaction was to pray with Si. But, the man didn't get up and I could see good Samaritans checking for a pulse and someone shouted to call 911. So I dialed. I instructed Si to stay put and I ran down to where the man was to shade him with my umbrella. It was a hot day. As I frantically tried to give the dispatcher information amidst ear-piercing jet engines rocketing by, a couple of women began to give the man CPR. We were soon surrounded by military personnel and I passed my phone to one of them. I kept my eye on Silas. A woman was befriending him and putting earplugs in his ears for him. I had noticed this woman earlier because she was accompanied by another woman...clearly her partner. Then, her partner swapped places with her and attempted to distract Silas from the obvious urgent situation with the dying man by directing his attention to the planes. Never would I have imagined that these women would seek to comfort and protect my precious little boy. And I realized that our moral beliefs made no difference in that moment. They were kind to one of the most precious people in my life and I was thankful.
Altruism. Love. We must love one another.