“Kindness is the language which the dumb can speak, the deaf can hear & the blind can see.” ~ Mark Twain
At the end of my yoga class the teacher came over and adjusted my blanket so that my feet wouldn’t get cold during the final meditation.
For some unknown reason, I was so moved by her simple gesture that tears actually fell from my eyes.
In my mind I knew that it wasn’t because she did that one single thing for me that I wept, but because at that same moment I was flooded with the awareness of other people doing other tender, seemingly meaningless things like that all over the world. I saw hands reaching out to offer bowls of food. I saw backpacks full of plastic bottles of water. I saw a woman clutching a life jacket that brought another woman’s five-day-old infant to shore.
I saw so much kindness in my mind’s eye that the scenes flowed out from behind my closed lids and spilled over.
Years ago, I read the memoir of a woman who had survived a 600 mile death march during the Holocaust. Somehow, she and a handful of others survived and were brought to a Red Cross Hospital. When a nurse put a sheet over her the woman cried out.
“I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,” the nurse said, thinking that the mere weight of the sheet on the woman’s starved and emaciated frame had caused her pain.
“No, no.” The woman stammered. “It doesn’t hurt.”
She wasn’t crying from pain; she was crying from the kindness, from the simple act of someone putting a sheet over her.
She cried for three days.
“Kindness is an act of compassion, humanity, love, concern and sympathy. Kindness is worship… Kindness is a behavior that spreads joy, joy that has no borders, joy that is universal. And its relevance in modern day and every day can’t be discounted. Acts of simple kindness make us the humans we are. Kindness of varying degree separates us from any other species. Its kindness and love that people seek and that people give.” ~ Essays, UK
It takes so little.
Just a hand reaching out. Just one bottle of water. Just someone covering bare feet during yoga class, and our hearts are touched.
Kindness. It brings out the best in us, can give us pause, can redirect our point of view and can take us away from the attention we place on ourselves.
Kindness changes everything—not only the person receiving it, but also the person giving it.
[Author’s Note: Thank you to my Facebook friend and reader, Deborah Florian, for her input into this article.]
Author: Carmelene Siani
Editor: Toby Israel