Quietly Doing Good

Years ago, I was cooking dinner in our kitchen when I heard the ominous sound of something very heavy landing on our roof.  The wind had been getting steadily stronger all day, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when I looked out our back door and saw that the massive elm tree in our yard had been completely uprooted.  Most of it was now resting on the corner of our house, directly above our daughter’s bedroom.  We called our insurance company right away, only to find out that there was wide-spread damage in our area and that help would not be coming anytime soon.  We were finally able to find a tree company to actually get the tree off our house, but we were put on a waiting list to get the hole in our roof fixed.  It was a frustrating situation, and my stress level was off the charts.

A  couple of days afterwards, a friend stopped me as I was leaving church and offered me materials to temporarily patch the roof until the professionals could get to it.  As he was loading the stuff into my trunk, he also offered to come over and help my husband do the patching if needed.  It was such a simple gesture, but I can’t begin to tell you how much it meant to my husband and I.  Having someone reach out in a time of need can make all the difference when we are feeling discouraged and overwhelmed.

Looking back on it, I’m not surprised at my friend’s actions.  He and his wife were very active in our church in their own quiet way.  They didn’t draw attention to themselves, just saw what needed to be done and got to work:  teaching the children, working on the building, lending a hand at special events.  Whenever and wherever help was needed, they helped.  So when they heard that a tree had fallen on our house and we couldn’t find anyone to repair the roof, naturally they stepped in.  And they gave me the supplies in the parking lot, after most people had gone home.  They didn’t need anyone to witness their generosity.

I’ve been a part of many different groups and organizations over the years, and the one thing they have in common is that they all have a few people in them just like my friends.  People who are happy to help with whatever is needed, working in the background and feeling no need to call attention to themselves and their good works.  Their work is rarely acknowledged, but they aren’t doing it for the thanks.  They are doing it for the simple reason that the work needs to be done.  These people see the same problems the rest of us do, but rather than just complaining, they work toward solutions.  And while they don’t solicit praise or recognition for themselves, they are quick to offer an encouraging word to others.  They are, without exception, the backbone of whatever organization they happen to serve.

There will always be those that seek the limelight and that excel in high-profile, leadership positions.  And there’s nothing wrong with that, as every organization has to have someone in that role.  But I believe that the true heroes are the ones who prefer to work quietly and efficiently behind the scenes, making sure that whatever needs to happen actually does happen.  They are the ones doing the most good, and they are the ones who understand that doing good is its own reward.  They are also the people I admire the most.

68 thoughts on “Quietly Doing Good

  1. This is such a good topic. Thank you for sharing. My family and I were the recipients of help during the next dreamily trying time many years ago. I kept having to both pregnancies and would end up in the hospital for major surgery and then a 6 to 8 week recovery . Each of the three times this happened. I can’t tell you how many people that I hardly knew brought us meals or helped take care of our young daughter. Or drive me where I needed to go. After we finally had our triplets those people and others came out of the woodwork to help us out. I was on bed rest from three months on and it was as if our church took us on as a project. They were determined that I would be able to stay on bed rest and then while in the hospital for the last five weeks people helped feed my husband and daughter and make sure that she got to and from school and afterschool activities so my husband could tend to me and work and spend time with her. After the three babies were born they help continued with people coming over every day to help me feed babies while my husband was at work. My gratitude to all these people is indescribable. They wanted no glory. They just wanted to help. And now to brag on my husband a little bit. He is the mysterious solver of whatever problem he sees. If he sees fire ants on the school ground or the church ground he goes in the evening whenever he’s there sprinkles The mounds and takes care of the problem. If the table is broken and needs repair he brings it home and fixes it and returned it to the table storage closet at the church. If he hears of people who need walkers or crutches or any type of medical device he make sure that they get it. Maybe put into their hands or maybe left at their door. ” I find out all the time about something that he’s done or repaired or donated or jailed in his truck, that I had no idea he had taken care of, when a person comes and says, “you’ll never believe how thankful we are for what Dan did for us .” And I don’t even know what it is because he never even tells me.

    Liked by 4 people

    • What wonderful support during your pregnancies! It sounds as if you know many people who are willing to help just because it is needed, and that’s so great. It also sounds as if you married someone who has a truly generous spirit, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how lucky you are in that. Thanks for sharing your story!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “To give… and not to count the cost. To toil, and not to ask for any reward…………” Sound familiar? It is always reassuring to know that there are people like that in our world, and I believe that there are many of them… the problem is we rarely hear about them! 🙂

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  3. I was nodding my head in agreement as I read this Ann. You’re so right, the true heroes are the ones that go unpraised and mostly unnoticed, except to the few that truly need them. And they make up the backbone of our society. We need to focus more on these people rather than those who mean harm, as you have here. Wonderful post. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks, Miriam! I have been lucky enough to recently have dealings with people who just try very hard to do what is right, and who give of themselves so selflessly. It made me want to shine a bit of a spotlight on all the people who do that, because they really are what props everything up. They may not want the credit, but I think it does us all good to acknowledge what a gift they are!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s a great story, Ann and you’re right about the ones who do the most good; they generally do it quietly and without need for recognition. They are always there as part of some group or organization, listening and observing.
    I think your friends actions also speak to you and your husband and the kind of people you are and have been.
    Very nice story. Well needed during these times.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, George! That was a difficult time in our lives, but what I remember most was the morale boost that our friend gave us when he came to church with those supplies to give us, and his offer to help my husband use them if needed. For the first time since that tree fell, we felt as if someone understood our pain and was willing to help, and that was priceless. (We were terrified the tree was going to crash through the rest of our roof and couldn’t even let our daughter sleep in her room until is was off the house. And then, of course, we were scared of a heavy rain.)
      Lately, I’ve had several other people step to the plate and do the right thing for no personal gain, and it reminded me of what happened so long ago. I felt they needed a “shout out” even if I didn’t name names. They are an example for us all…..

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I have to say- My hubby is one of these kind of people. It is one of the things I admire most about him. No bravado, No proclamation, No talk about it – he just does…. He just does what is needed for those that need. Salt of the earth. I remember when the Boston Marathon bombing occurred – there was talk of those that ran IN instead of those that ran away. I sadly must admit that I am one who would have run away – I’m a big scaredy cat and terrible in crisis. My husband is one who would run IN to help people. Always has been. Always will. Thanks for reminding me of these special people and the gift I have in calling one mine.

    Liked by 3 people

    • How wonderful that you not only married someone like that, but that you recognize what a gift he is to those around him! Truly, he and those who do good without any thought of recognition or reward are the salt of the earth.
      But you know what, Jodi? Maybe you really are the kind of person who panics in a crisis, and that’s perfectly okay. But through your blog and your art (and also, I suspect, by your very presence) you are the kind of person who spreads good will and hope wherever you go. Don’t discount that… It is a gift that helps so many of us. You do good in your own way, never doubt that!

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is wonderful! And while it’s not super common, it’s not quite as rare as I first thought. Once I started paying attention, I saw that there really are a good number of people who are willing to help and do the right things without needing anyone to know about it. And all of us benefit from their work, I think. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You put your finger on why I love living in the country. It is this trait of always willing to lend a hand – but there is plenty of that in the city too, but sometime there isn’t.

    So why sometimes and why sometimes not.

    Again you put your finger on it. When people are connected, they help each other out. Sure, they are also willing to help strangers – but it is the connectedness that organizes the effort and provides the social glue.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think you’re right, and people are more willing to help each other (without expecting any reward) when they understand their connection to each other. And that does happen more in rural areas, I think, because the very nature of living in the country means you have to count on your neighbors. Now that I think about it, the examples I was thinking of are all of people who are connected to each other through a particular organization.
      That’s one of the things I like best about blogging: I learn so much from the comment section! Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a fabulous salute to the backbone of society, Ann. It’s also where the good stories lie. I am married to someone just like your friends, and it is so refreshing. I am proud to say that my daughter is the same. I once was chatting with her on the phone as she walked out of the building at the end of her day; she works at a grade school. Suddenly the fire alarm went off and she said, “I’ve gotta go, Mom; I’ll talk with you later.” She ran back into the building instead of heading to her car. Her first thought was helping the children, not herself. I was equally proud and mad at her for her actions: proud as her mama, but mad that she could have been hurt. (What IS a mother to do?!!?) Anyway, thanks for the reminder that this backbone is everywhere, and often silent, and I am thankful for them every day. Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow! I can see where you were worried, but I think your daughter’s priorities are awesome! And I do believe that people like that are the backbone of our society, which would quickly crumble without them. We don’t hear about them often (they seem to prefer it that way) but we see the results of their good works everywhere!

      Liked by 1 person

      • My daughter definitely deflects attention from herself at all costs…except when a kid bolts and she takes off after them, once jumping a fence, to retrieve said child. She definitely does not want the attention but her thought processes put her there. I sit back and smile. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  8. A lovely post, Ann, and warm tribute to volunteers, helpers, and kind people everywhere. I belong to a few volunteer boards in town and we call these people our “angels.” They swoop in and do what needs doing, often without being asked. They’re treasures. I hope your roof is all fixed!

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  9. I agree, those silent heroes are the backbone of our societies and I also admire them the most. It always saddens me a bit when people who offer help feel the need to get recognized for it publicly, like they wouldn’t be truly happy with “just” helping. In the end what matters is of course the result, the help that was offered, but it leaves a bitter aftertaste in my mouth anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Henry David Thoreau wrote that philanthropic people do their philanthropy because somehow they do get ‘something’ from it – if only the good feeling in their hearts that they were of help to someone who needed it. I think that at some level this is definitely true – but contrary to what I’d thought for many years, it doesn’t really diminish the benefit to the people who are helped. I think you’ve just demonstrated that. Thanks.

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  11. It certainly is beautiful and heart warming to witness such humane acts around us by people with such impeccable qualities.I join you in giving my utmost respect to your friend and his wife for the work they did and continue to do.I also want to mention this quote which is flashing in my mind just after reading this which is,”Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”, and therefore I am so glad to have come across the person that you are.I look forward to being a part of your online community!

    Liked by 1 person

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