The Silent Lovers

If you do deeds of charity openly, it is well; but if you bestow it upon the needy in secret, it will be even better for you, and it will atone for some of your bad deeds. And God is aware of all that you do. - Qur'an 2:271*

Walking around the Clementi MRT station in Singapore a few nights ago, I saw a woman setting down plastic bags with Tupperware containers full of food and water for the cats that roam in and around the void decks of the apartment buildings around here.The cats gathered around, purring and rubbing their scent all over her as she set out their food silently. They ate while she watched, and when their bellies were full she picked up the bags and walked back to the elevator, presumably to her apartment on one of the floors above. I paused for a moment and smiled to myself before walking home.

A couple years ago I told you about another lover I found in Philadelphia: "Stopped at a red light near Halal Bilal’s “Steak and Take” in Germantown, I was minding my own business. The driver of the car in front of me looked as though he accidentally dropped a rectangular card out of his window. Within moments, he opened his car door, and stepped out— revealing that he was in a clown suit. Without so much as a glance in my direction, he bent down to pick up the card that he dropped, got back in his car and drove off as the light turned green. As he was picking up the card, I saw that it had one word on it in black marker:


To this day, I have never come across anything more perfectly executed. It was comedy for the sake of comedy. Art for the sake of art. Beauty for the sake of beauty.It is these moments, these people, that help me wash away my worldly anxieties about life and my future. They remind me that what matters is not what you do or give in the world, as long as you do it with love-- love of people, animals, ideals, or the earth. Thank you to the lovers that no one sees or hears about, the lovers that give us hope.

*Also see Maimonides 8 levels of charity