Yesterday my boss did something that was an act of complete and utter kindness, an unneccessary but profoundly thoughtful thing to do. I'm not going to tell you what it was she did, because it wasn't about me and it's pretty private. I've sat here and tried to think about how to tell this. I realize I can't. I'm not even going to tell you which boss it was - I have two - because it's really private what I saw.
But I can say that I was really moved. That kindness, unexpected ... that kindness, unnecessary ... that kindness, unaskedfor ... is still profoundly moving. Yet I am in the business of providing acts of kindness - why should it move me still?
I think much of the work we do has the scent of manufactured kindness - kindness bought and paid for - kindness that comes from a job description - kindness that is evaluated on a yearly basis. It's needed that kind of purchased kindness - but it has always had an odd smell. The smell of something not quite fresh.
Over the years I've seen when the "paid to care" have moments of true kindness, when they given generously and spontaneously, because of will rather than because of wages - and tears spring to my eyes each time I see it. Moments when compassion reaches right to the fingertips - when the act is done without the realization of it's meaning, when the act is invisible to the mind but keenly felt by the heart. It's in those moments that soul is revealed.
Somewhere in the Bible, I'm sure, it says something about being kind, or generous, but not for self glory, not for public view, but privately before the eyes of only God. I've heard this preached about and once a preacher mentioned that the only eyes that see are the eyes of those who receive - that we are seen at our most vulnerable when we give, deeply give, because we risk rejection if not of the gift at least of the intent. I didn't really understand what he was saying then, but I think I get it now.
Because my boss did something really kind. And she didn't have to.