Sometimes I’m not sure it always pays to offer courtesy to others in life – even when it’s a practice you often do.
There’s a large tree in the back of my house that was tossed and thrown around like a rag doll during Hurricane Sandy. My wife and I cringed every time a strong gust of wind came barreling through our area.
But I’m happy to report, amazingly, we only lost a dozen or so branches in varying sizes during the historic weather event – none of them hitting any structure on ours or our surrounding neighbor’s property.
The tree is in fact in my yard, so I do feel obligated to at least retrieve whatever limbs might have fallen on my neighbor’s property. After all, it was a courtesy I owed my neighbors.
Erastus Wiman once said, “Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of the pleasures costs nothing and conveys much. It pleases him who gives and him who receives, and thus, like mercy, it is twice blessed.”
But not everyone understands that ideal.
My neighbor behind me, whom I know nothing about besides he likes to drink and shoot off fireworks randomly at 1AM in the morning, definitely doesn’t.
I hopped over the fence and cleaned up all the large branches I could – leaving a few tiny straggles that I really didn’t think needed my attention. Obviously they did.
The next day I found a pile of those tiny stragglers tossed over my fence. Were they my branches? Yes. Did I lose something by my courtesy to clean them up – YOU BET!
This world no longer knows how to appreciate the courtesy that is offered to them. I’ll tell you what it makes me think of – questioning my courteous actions before doing them again.