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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Thanking Good People (Pass it on)

"Sometimes life's events just come together at the right time, and things falls into place. The last few hours have been exhilarating, and a perfect ramp up for me to celebrate today's internet holiday: Good People Day 2008."

Thus blogs Kristen Forbriger inspired by Gary Vaynerchuk's declaration that today, April 3rd, be a day to thank good people.

And thanks to a randomly read tweet, I've been virally infected with this meme and picking up the phone (3 am just as it was for Kristen), I find myself speaking to Cambodia. Why Cambodia? Why now? Who thanking? I'm making good on a promise I began to keep a week ago, when I sent a small package to a tiny village 5 kilometers outside of Siem Riep. There, last December, together with my friend and my son, we found ourselves cared for and nurtured by Mr. S., a survivor of the Pol Pot Child Labor camps and our guide through the history, past and present, of his country, Cambodia. He, like his fellow countryman(woman) Chanrithy Him, lost his parents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles in the killing fields.

Mr. S. is a spiritual person. He shared with us his beliefs, his dreams for a quiet and peaceful and pastoral life. It seemed to us, that he supported and guided a handful of "relatives" whose only relation was experiential. The family who shared their wood hut with us had suffered the same fate as Mr. S. and I can truly say that never have I met a more generous or good family. Chanrithy's words resound here:

"As a survivor, I want to be worthy of the suffering that I endured as a child. I don't want to let that pain count for nothing, nor do I want others to endure it ... . Throughout a childhood dominated by war, I learned to survive. In a country faced with drastic changes, the core of my soul was determined to never let the horrific situations take away the better part of me. I mentally resisted forces I could only recognize as evil by being a human recorder, quietly observing my surroundings, making mental notes of the things around me. There would come a day to share them."

So I called Cambodia to say a simple "thank you". I did not detail the reason. The gratefulness and privilege I felt that other human beings had opened heart and family to us was what I was acknowledging. Mr. S. has not yet received the package, but the joy he imparted across those many miles was for the call. "I am so happy you called and hope to speak to you often". Thank you Mr. S., from my family who learned from you and your family the recognition of the purest goodness. The acts of generosity and kindness to total strangers, the gifts of sharing the enormity of your past and the remarkable resilient hopefulness of your future. You've passed it on.

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