“You cannot do a kind act too soon, for you will never know how soon it will be too late.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said that in another time but his words ring true today. Recently I had the opportunity to review a scrapbook of an organization in which I had been a member. I came upon the picture of a friend who recently passed away. My joy in looking at the past was suddenly turned to grief and regret as I realized I had lost the chance to hear my friend laugh and had missed opportunities when they were still possible. My friend had died within one month of receiving a devastating diagnosis. The tomorrow I kept promising that would be the time we would get together was now lost. It was indeed now too late.
I do not need to define the word kindness to you. We all know it means to do something nice, good, or compassionate for another. It means living a generosity of spirit. Never has the world needed kindness more than it does this very day. When the young people of the world are so confused as to what signifies as a good deed that they blow themselves and others up, we need clarity about just exactly kindness and faith really are. At a time when one political candidate is proud to be supported by a corrupt, egotistical leader, we need to live kindness, not hate. In a world where the battle between death and living seem tilted in favor of death, we need to see with kindness and not mayhem.
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.” Wayne Dyer may have seemed like he was proposing a contradiction but there is great truth in his statement. When all we see is the carnage, we will only see hate and pain. When we focus on the helpers in the midst of such turmoil, we are emboldened by the kindness of strangers and the willingness of responders to assist.
We have never needed kindness more in the world than we do right now. People are not perfect and are easily swayed by the thirst for power from within themselves and from the world around them. Kindness is the avenue by which we make ordinary and sometimes troubling times into extraordinary moments and opportunities for positive change and growth.
The song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams is a top-tapping, gonna make you smile type of song. It supports the comment by Maya Angelou that “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” It is almost impossible to listen, really listen to that song and not be the title – happy. Hatred accomplishes nothing except contempt and contempt builds nothing but fear.
Kindness is a motivating, positive step for the future. Kindness builds bridges that build pathways towards a brighter tomorrow. Kindness is inspirational, regardless of your faith, creed, or spirituality and it crosses all socio-economic boundaries and cultural divides. Kindness is the key we all possess towards making this ordinary time extraordinary.