One of the things I did during my recent trip to Thailand was visit two different elephant camps at Pai. Aside from finally being able to touch elephants (a long time dream of mine), I also managed to feed them a bunch of bananas (worth 20 baht) and keep them company for more than hour.
What I did wasn't much. Feeding elephants won't change the world. There will still be conflicts here and there. Terminal illnesses will continue to wreak havoc. However, it was a profound experience that made me realize just how lucky we humans are. We don't know how truly blessed we are until we see ourselves in the light of other creatures.
While most people can rise above any problem life throws at them, much like orphaned children, elephants can't do anything when they lose their loved ones or their habitat. They need all the help they can get from us "higher beings," considering we have more resources, will and initiative to dispose of.
Yeah, caring for lost, abandoned or abused animals may be a trivial thing compared to global issues on race, terrorism, war, climate change, politics, poverty and whatnot. We're humans after all, so it's typical to think that way (and to consciously and subconsciously put everything into hierarchy and feel sad about it). Weird.
Still, even if the little things we do don't seem to matter, this should not stop us from being kind or giving back in any way possible. Whether you're kind to plants, animals, fellow humans, forgotten souls or extraterrestrial beings... kindness is kindness and all life forms need it.
With the way the world is right now, even a little bit of kindness matters. May we all be kinder, happier and more fulfilled not just this new year but throughout our lifetime.