“And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve had more of a tendency to look for people who live by kindness, tolerance, compassion….”
You and me, Martin Scorsese.
I’ve been mulling over this piece about kindness for quite awhile. But I had been stymied by wondering what new and meaningful I could add to the topic. I realized that simply adding my voice again to the rising chorus singing the essentialness and pricelessness of kindness is reason to write.
My realization was underscored after I gratefully received several kindnesses over the past few days–everything from joking with appreciative strangers about my Santa Hat to kind words from supporters about my dancing and writing. What a difference kindness can make.
We all know “how desolate the landscape can be/ between the regions of kindness....,” as Naomi Shihab Nye so eloquently put it. A kind word or thoughtful gesture, costing the giver nothing more than a smidgen of energy, can transform the inner landscape into something lush and vibrant–for both the donor and the recipient. And kindness is infectious!
So, as I was trying to decide whether to delay till tomorrow purchasing gifts to donate to the collection drive at my son’s school for families who need a little extra help this year, I came across the wisdom and generosity of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
I also wanted to bring a plate of cookies to the school’s staff, as my holiday appreciation is even more heightened as we approach the one year anniversary of the Newtown tragedy. Only an hour from my home.
No. This is no time to delay.
I don my Santa Hat and head off in my “sleigh,” a/k/a minivan. I joke with the cashiers and smile at strangers and silently bless passersby. I make my deliveries and return home to fire up the oven for more cookie baking with the not-so-secret ingredients of love and gratitude–the firefighters are next on my list.
I recall the lovely words of Og Mandino: “Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”
Warmest wishes to you for peace, joy and kindness….