Photo by Adam Nemeroff.

You’ve got to try a little kindness
Yes, show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets
.Glen Campbell

Many of us will remember singing along to the music and lyrics of Glen Campbell. The echoes of these words call us to dig more deeply into the meaning of kindness and compassion. These lyrics have a message for our everyday living of being courteous, acknowledging achievement and greatness with gratitude, and gifting people with the joy of their worth and well-being.

Kindness is born from a deep place within each of us, a place that calls us to be kind to ourselves. It is only when we develop the compassionate self that we can reach out to others in true kindness. Acts of kindness become authentic when our motive is a genuine reaching out to another without any strings attached. This example offered by Jan Richardson is a prime example of anonymous kindness.

Over the weekend, as I was reading a book I had ordered from the library, this small piece of paper fell out. On the back, it says, “You’re doing great! I hope you have a lovely day. I’m glad you found this doodle. Keep being awesome!” This person’s thoughtfulness came as a lovely grace note in these days and invited me to think about how I might pass along that spirit of kindness. Jan Richardson

While random acts of kindness are an attempt to make the world a happier place for everyone, there are larger issues that slip through our kindness circle. I have just finished reading Mad Honey by Jody Piccoult and Jennifer Boylan. The story around two teenage lovers and the convoluted world of trans people. I imbibed not only the great story of honey production but education into the world of people who are born into a body that is alien to them.

I have pondered on the call of kindness to difference – racial, religion, poverty, social injustice, refugees. All sectors of society are part of our kindness circle. Often we dwell in a different world from many of our hurting sisters and brothers. We are still called to change opinions where possible and to Shine our light for everyone to see. (Glen Campbell)

We are all flawed, complicated wounded dreamers; we have more in common with one another than we don’t.  Sometimes making the world a better place just involves creating space for the people who are already in it. Mad Honey, Jody Piccoult and Jennifer Boylan 

I am reminded of the message of the Visitation as I ponder the depths of kindness:

As soon as I heard the sound of your greeting
The child in my womb leapt for joy.Luke 1: 44

Mary would have been filled with excitement, wondering and doubt. Her cousin was unexpectedly with child at an older age. Mary yearned to be with Elizabeth and kindly travelled 80 miles on a donkey to share this miraculous time.

O God, Compassionate One –
I pray that my desire and my attempts to live compassionately (to be compassionate) will encourage others to be compassionate – one by one by one – until our world is filled with compassionate people, filled with people who have your compassionate heart pulsing through us.
Amen. Jan Richardson

Michele Shipperley rsj