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Life is just a short walk from the cradle to the grave and it sure behooves us to be kind to one another along the way. (Alice Childress)

The media broadcasts a different spin on the same violence and shock-value stories, day and night, and calls them news. Naivety is not a virtue; responding with further ugliness isn’t helpful either.

Someone with a lot more wisdom than I have will need to find balance among the warring forces. In the meantime, can it hurt to spread kindness? The results may not be immediate, but the possibilities reach in a more hopeful direction.

I have two examples.

Recently, my husband and I made friends with A. She has a rich sense of humor and she loves 50’s and 60’s music as much as my husband does. She knows the names of bands and their songs.

When we met, I thought we were helping her because she needed rides to senior functions; she is blind. However, I soon learned that she not only discerns voices well, she listens, with sincere compassion. “I’ll be your friend for life,” she tells me. And I believe it.

As she gets into the car she talks about all her activities, and I wonder how she manages. “Okay if I drive home?” she asks. It is okay to laugh. She sings “Jingle Bells” in an elf character voice. She pulls it off.

The pain in my neck and shoulders relaxes. By evening the blessings grow when I learn about the second example of kindness.

My son’s girlfriend was with her son, Dakota, at a store. Next to the checkout were some too-expensive-to-buy-on-a-whim toy cars. The boy is five, and into action. His big brown eyes grew big when he saw the treasures.

This little guy has had some rough moments in his young life, but he is one-hundred percent charmer. That does not mean Mommy had the money.

I was not present, but I suspect Dakota’s interest was more in-awe than demanding because an older couple in the line behind Mommy bought the gift for Dakota.

The car is more than a toy; it is a symbol for the fact that kindness exists in the world, and it can continue to grow.

Do two examples of kindness, one friend with an open heart plus one generous stranger, obliterate hate? Of course not. Should we all stand in a circle and chant platitudes as if huge world problems didn’t exist? Would be nice if that worked. I suspect each person plays a different role. Some people may need to be in-your-face active, others subtle yet constant in integrity.

In the meantime, I thank a woman who taught me to feel the subtleties of warmth and chill in the air. She also taught me to appreciate seeing skies as blue or gray palettes, always changing, sometimes swirled with white, or edged in pink.

I thank an older couple who may never read these words.

Perhaps a greater handicap than blindness is not being able to care.

I open the door into whatever happens.

gift-car-nov-16-2016

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