Why write or talk about kindness? Yesterday, I suddenly remembered a negative comment from many years ago when I first started to write about my Santa Hat adventures through which I aim to expand my random acts of kindness. A reader asked what the big deal was with what I was doing. She claimed that she already performed random acts of kindness, so why was I bothering to write about it?
At the time, I was stung. Now I remind myself of Mary Oliver’s luminous words:
“Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.”
Indeed, experiencing and even witnessing acts of kindness can be so inspiring, breathtaking, astonishing. Combine Mary Oliver’s sage advice with all we know about the infectiousness of kindness and there is even more reason to share our stories about kindness. Shout them from the rooftops! Both the kindnesses we offer and the ones we are fortunate enough to receive.
While cultivating kindness is ideally a year round practice, it is heartwarming to observe and receive so many generous gestures as I go about my daily rounds. People looking behind them to hold the door for me, rather than letting it slam in my face; people lightening the atmosphere by telling jokes as we stand in long lines; people donating gifts to those in need when I drop off some cookies for an event for recipients.
The list goes on.
If we each do our bit, we transform the world. Reminding me of Desmond Tutu’s lovely and wise words. “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
And then tell about it. I wonder what kindness you have offered, received or observed?