My intention remains to share illuminating ideas for alleviating tough times and elevating you. Here, I offer you ‘Kindnessing.’
“What Wisdom can you find that is greater than Kindness?” asked philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Yet, Kindnessing, a verb to reflect action and practice, can be easily overlooked. Perhaps thought less important, trivial, or not quite worth time and effort.
Here’s a story about three strangers which relays Kindnessing’s value and how it may Grace a moment and your heart one day. Then another. Annnnd another. To little by little add golden nuggets of yummy to your within.
Upon exiting a building alone, I heard someone rushing up behind me. Startled, I turned abruptly, likely with a less-than-welcoming look. Sigh.
Seeing an adolescent boy I’d noticed inside struggling to walk and speak gave me momentary pause. His (assumed) mother, from a distance, quickly and warmly asked him to ‘leave me be’ appearing lovingly concerned, perhaps embarrassment tinged. With innocent eyes and a gentle demeanor, this young man backed off uttering words I’d not understood.
Late for a meeting and mulling commitments, I felt angsty and rushy – and nearly dashed off.
Upon seeing ‘Sam’ (names here respectfully changed), Lyme’s memories quickly surfaced. When speech and movement were chores or not doable at times, I was embarrassed to be seen and unsure I’d make it through. When any sized Kindness – by friend or stranger – felt a Divine gift.
Such moments, treasured memories, impact profoundly. Often seeming a lifeline until another LIght appeared on the bleak seeming horizon. Being seen and momentarily loved, regardless of ‘state,’ via Kindness.
Tears rose in the recollection of Kind strangers in a grocery helping when walking function escaped. A neighbor lifting me from floor to sofa late one eve. Sweet friends warmly approaching to hug at school while I sat legs not working.
Recalibrated, my meeting would hafta wait.
Extending a hand to shake ‘Sam’s,’ I slowed my roll. “Hi, I’m Judy. So glad to meet you.” Sam beamed sharing his name which his – assumed – mom, ‘Mary’, then repeated for understanding’s sake. Softened, dewing around her eyes, Mary hello’d then introduced Sam’s obedient service dog, ‘Buddy.’
One minute or 2 – max – of chat while petting Buddy (with permission granted) was meant to be. A Divine exchange not forgotten.
Kindnessing instead of rushing off. Paying attention, noticing, caring. Between those who appeared they could all use it. On a regular morning – when work suddenly, thankfully, paled in importance.
These gems, perhaps never to be seen again, reminded what matters. When the vitalness of Kindness and connection had taken a backseat. Subtly, simply, sweetly, they chose Kindness in a moment nearly raced by.
By approaching, stopping, really seeing. With a brief yet real attention that imprinted an indelible, exquisite memory.
Strangers pausing to acknowledge each other. Neighbors sharing a sincere hello. Associates exchanging smiles conveying unspoken understanding as life weighs down or an illness drags on and on.
Kindness says, ‘I see you. I am, even if just for now, with you. We are united – however briefly.’
Ups your love hormone (oxytocin), increases your energy, boosts your happiness, protects your health, lengthens your lifespan, calms you down (yay, serotonin), and even lights up your brain’s pleasure center for helper’s high. Woohoo. All of this per science as found on Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website.
Kindness also ripples out. In ways we may never know. Gracing others whom we have no idea what they are facing.
Gratitude to Sam, Mary, and Buddy. For warm words, a tidbit of togetherness, and their Kindness gift.
May you consider loving yourself and others by “be[ing] Kind whenever possible. [And remember, ] it is [nearrrrrly] always possible,” (Dalai Lama)