One of the greatest gifts we can bestow upon each other is kindness. It is the one ability we all possess equally. No matter our age, income, health or status in life; we all have the ability to show kindness to one another. It is the great equalizer among man. No one is immune from receiving it and we are all capable of giving it.
It is sad that we all get caught up in our own busyness and the chaos of our lives that we often forget the importance of simple acts of kindness. Why is it so difficult to stop and catch someone we see falling? To take a moment and console someone who is feeling low? To put the rush of the day on hold and stop and listen to those around us who are crying out for our time and attention? To be present in this day and give of ourselves is to show kindness.
Paying it forward is a great way to live the acts of kindness out loud and visibly share the gifts of love and compassion with others. But don’t mistake the drive-thru games and other “mass” kindness events as the only ways to lead with kindness. The simplicity of life is crying out for all of us to be present and show love to others in the most simple of ways.
Be the one who returns the shopping cart – free of trash – back to the cart corral at the grocery store. Hold the door for the young mother juggling her little ones and her purchases. Smile at the grumpy IT guy who never seems to have a kind word. Take those leftovers to the neighbor man who lives alone, or invite him to join your family for dinner.
A smile …
A hello to a stranger …
Nothing spoken, when harsh words are on the tip of your tongue …
These are all acts of kindness.
Leading with kindness has become a missing part of civil society. We’ve lost the humanness and decency that comes from leading with kindness; it is no longer commonplace. We seem to reward those who are always kind, treat them as rare beauty and gravitate toward them. Rather – and I know this is radical – we must find those who are routinely unkind, nourish their souls with generous love, huddle around them and lift them up. No act of kindness will ever go wasted and we do not know the private pain and battles that rage within their lives.
You can never do a kindness
because you never know
how soon it will be too late.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is a French proverb that says we should write the injuries inflicted upon us in sand and the kindness we’ve been shown in marble. That tells me forgiveness and kindness are ever so important in this life, more important than the wealth, status or friends we accumulate. Those words, “love one another” come back again and again and again.
We must simply lead with kindness and therein true life, this outrageously real and wonderful life, indeed begins.