Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things . This is the first line of Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem titled “Kindness” in the anthology 100 Poems To Break Your Heart. Anyone who has lost something dear to them, especially in a public place, knows the agony of never having it returned to them. It reminds us that the world can be a harsh and unforgiving place, puncturing our soul through its daily interactions with us.
In this world that often feels unsafe, we too limit our own humanity from broadening and flourishing. So nothing prepares us when we come to experience the touch of kindness. Whether we give it or receive it, it changes our lives. It defies all norms.
Kindness feels heartwarming and sometimes overwhelming because we know what the lack of it feels like – brutal, cruel, horrifying, helpless, and lonely. But when it enters our world, it makes us wonder if it is the secret that keeps the world in motion. Kindness makes us fall in love with the goodness of another mortal, and nudges us to continue to live in a world that a few moments ago may have seemed insufferable.
As we move through life with our little personal tragedies, someone’s act of kindness can lend us one of the greatest human joys. While we may have come to believe that something else is more important, kindness is a testimony to a successful life. Bearing another person’s tragedy for a short while is, in fact, a testimony to a courageous life.
In a world where you can be anything, be kind. (Author unknown)