I saw an act of kindness today.
And it was beautiful.
A man with a disability was the recipient of courageous kindness, a kindness that cost. I can't tell you the details because too many people would know him, guess that I'm talking about her and the whole confidentiality thing would be violated. But I had to tell you ... something, anything.
When one is paid to care, kindness can be hard to generate. One does things because one is expected to, receives a salary for, and the impulse to kindness can be dulled. Not that people who are paid don't care, it's that care when sold becomes somewhat of a commodity. Money muddles everything. But it care still doesn't mean anything more or less than care. But kindness - the impulse towards gentleness - happens in those moments where money doesn't matter. Kindness can't be bought, it can only be given.
When one is supposed to care. Thicker than water kind of caring. Kindness can be hard to find. Anyone who sits through a tense family Christmas knows that the gene pool can need draining. Kindness isn't a condition of relationship ... its an exceptional thing that can be spontaneous between strangers and abscent with brothers. Kindness is because it is, it exsists because it wants to, kindness can't be required, it can only be given.
Kindness really really inspires me. True deep down courageous kindess, the kind of kindness that stands in the way of bigotry, of prejudice, of hurt - the kindness that reminds one of all that is good and all that is holy - that kindness is so beautiful that it can be hard to grasp.
But I saw it.
It was a kindness that came with determination. A kindness that came with conviction. A kindness that meant, for a few seconds, she was able to understand with him ... not for him. A kindness that led understanding to action. And action to change.
It was a kindness that came without strings. She expected nothing back. Wanted nothing back. It was the kind of generous offer that is made without expectation. In fact, should she read this I don't imagine she'd know that I'm writing about her. It was unselfconcious kindness. You know, the incredibly beautiful kind.
I really did see it.
And I'm still in awe.
I see lots of nice things done out of a generous spirit. Really, I do. But kindness is something else. I don't use the word kindness for the little acts of courtesy that people perform for one another. I use the word rarely. It's one of my favourite words. It's a word with a warm soft spot in the middle. It's a word that you can cuddle up to. It's a word that tastes fresh on the tongue.
So to the woman who acted out of pure motivation, out of genuine kindness. Thank you. You made me believe again.
... in what's humanly possible.