The Triumph of Kindness

There’s a kindness that slips between the cracks: there’s a crack in everything to let the good light in. It’s the capacity to relax into affirmation. It escapes headlines. It’s so often under the radar, the triumph less of action than a heartfelt state of kindness played out in simple unheroic gestures.

Kindness can envelope two persons, or a small group, known in the sparkle of eyes, the tenderness of touch, the light laugh of togetherness. In the movie The Wife, it envelopes grandparents answering a phone to welcome a new grandchild into the world. There’s a burst of joy that’s also a burst of kindness, affirmation, and affection.  Heartfelt kindness takes over and displaces all irritability.

We’re heartened by news of kindness, the boon of acts that transcend indifference or dismissal.  And we’re heartened by less public moments when kindness passes privately between friends or partners, between grandparents and new grandchildren, between pets and their guardians. These more private moments are also triumphs – triumphs over the banal, over indifference, over streams of irritation, masked hostility, competitiveness, that so easily get the upper hand.

The triumph of simple kindness rebukes dark clouds of despair.  We are not strangers to disaster, killing, cruelty. Unhappily, incessant bad news becomes its own disaster, casting the unwary toward despair. The kindness that slips between the cracks triumphs over despair. We come to relish simple smiles, hugs, the kiss of eyes.  The warmth of human kindness defeats lurking despair, lack of hope. Despair is a failure of empathy and kindness.

Celebrating moments of kindness is not just didactic, as in stories, perhaps Biblical ones, meant to encourage kind actions. Celebrating their triumphs is not self-indulgent or a detached, impersonal observation of goodness in others. Celebrating is bracing joy in the triumph of kindness. There is a crack, a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.

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