Kindness can do more for the giver and the receiver than any interpersonal gesture I know. How often have you extended yourself with a small act of kindness or even a larger gesture? All too often, people rant and rave at other drivers, people who cut in front of us in line, or those who are simply insensitive to our needs. We can be arrogant and unforgiving of people’s mistakes and the fact that they are not moving fast enough for us.
Forget about how the other person is responding to you, graciousness begins at home. Allow other drivers to move into your lane, let people cross the street in front of your car while you wait, let others go in front of you at the grocery store. It only takes seconds to compliment people who are doing a good job. Think of how you can make someone’s life a teeny bit better. We all can use more kindness in our lives. We could all live by the words of the quintessential preacher, Joel Osteen, who encourages us to be generous with our mercy, instead of being quick to judge.
My favorite poem on kindness is by Naomi Shihab Nye, taken from the book, “Words Under the Words.” Nye writes that we never know how important kindness is until we feel the desolation of a deep loss, then kindness is about the only thing that really matters…
I hope you enjoy this exquisite poem as much as I do.
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.