There is a certain something binding people together. It isn’t contained in a stack of procedures or laid out in a court of law. We naturally do things because a loved one needs us to, or just to settle with our internal sense of what’s right.

I bring it up because this morning, as I was relaxing with my coffee, opening the paper, Li calls from her church (she runs the Sunday School program there).  “I forgot the smarties for the kids to decorate the cookies with.”.

I dress, wet down the “scary hair” so I don’t frighten the flock, and drive over with the smarties in hand.  In a sense it’s an inconvenience, but it’s the little favors like that which bind a relationship together.

Very often it is counter to the advice you would get from a business course.  There isn’t necessarily a “pay-back”, although most people of a certain type appreciate that favors tend to return to the issuer.

But I’m not really talking about the more mercenary aspect.  It is a sort of karma-lite, making you feel good about helping out a friend, or even someone you don’t really know.  Letting that driver go when they’re trying to turn onto a road and there’s a big line behind you.  There’s not even a delayed payback there.  But it does tend to be contagious, leading that person, at least sometimes, at least for awhile, to also let the next person they encounter go.  It’s that little trickle binding us together as a community.  The smartie glue, leaving little multi-colored dots under our skin.