A theme has been playing on the virtual screen of my life of late. That of being kind to one another. It started in a book I am reading, and then it came again in the form of a friend leaving the virtual world of Facebook for a season because…well, she didn’t really say why she was leaving. I can speculate of course, she’s a mom of four, operates a small farm, it’s Christmas time, and it’s snowing! What more reasons would one have for leaving the virtual world behind for a bit? What really struck me though, was her parting message. Be kind to one another because we’re all fighting one battle or another.
My current battle is that of snow, I am not a fan anymore! Truly, I have deeper battles than that I am fighting, we all do. Back to the thought of kindness though, having worked in retail, I have seen first hand what kindness looks like in contrast to the ugly underbelly of consumerism.
As shown in the book I am reading, the main character is a 11 year old girl, (my favorite age in life)…yet, she finds herself in a struggle to be kind to a girl at school who seems to have everything in life. The rich girl often does not give Pearl a reason to be kind, but rather to return the “favor” of snootiness’. Pearl, would technically have every reason to be rude back, as she was hurting deeply from the volitional loss of her mother running away with a man who stole her heart.
Yet, despite her losses, Pearl chooses to befriend the poorest girl in school, because kindness matters. Often, I think we forget kindness – we see the bell ringers out in front of a store, so we will put $10 if we’re feeling generous. Or perhaps a pocket full of change and some lint for good measure if we’re not and we think we have been kind, that we’re making a difference. Yes, in some measure, all resources collected, no matter how large or small do add up and thus the act is a ”good” one.
We all see people in a store or on the streets, and think, “their life must be “perfect” based on their bright smile fancy clothes, or whatever else catches our eye. Yet that momentary smile might be hiding the fact their loved one dying of cancer, their own ugly diagnosis… that, my friends, is where the even the smallest of kindnesses can run soul deep.
A once popular theme from a book turned to a movie was “paying it forward” an idea of giving kindness to one would then spur them onto kindness to another and what the world could look like if we all participated. In the book as well as life, there were times when his project looked like it was failing, yet, was working out in the background in very unexpected ways.
True kindness however, run soul deep; as, we’re all fighting battles that others may not know about… I know the surface of some of my friend’s troubles, and she might know the surface of some of mine. A simple act of kindness might be what is needed on a dark day. We often don’t know the full impact of our kindnesses towards one another, but we know how the acts of kindness from another impact our lives.
Acts of kindness can cost us nothing in the moment and reap the greatest of rewards in the end. Let us all end this year doing a kind act for another, and begin the year to come in the same fashion!