Originally posted 2/13/13
On Valentines and Kindness
The story a local resident told in his letter to the editor went something like this:
I went to the window of my office to stretch a bit and watch the goings-on in the street below. It was cold outside. A disheveled looking guy sitting on the curb, a homeless man I’d seen before, sat with his arms wrapped around himself to get some warmth, I suppose.
As I was watching, a well-dressed man with an attaché case stopped by. He sat down on the curb next to the homeless guy and talked for a few minutes. Before he got up and went on his way, he took off his gloves and gave them to the other.
Neither man knew, of course, I witnessed this simple act of kindness. It kind of restored my faith in mankind, you know?
On this Valentine’s Day when, with a little help from Hallmark, the flower shops, and the candy stores we celebrate love, I am reminded of the kind of love that gilts the gold, ices the cake—restores the heart.
It’s not necessarily bright, shiny, brave, or beautiful as we sometimes imagine love to be. It resembles more a few minutes’ chat in a lonesome place; the warmth of compassion, of a sudden, on a cold curb. The best of who we can be offered to someone else with or without a return.
Here are some other thoughts on this, I believe, most potent form of love:
“There is nothing so rewarding as to make people realize that they are worthwhile in this world.” (Bob Anderson)
“Nothing,” wrote Tolstoy, “can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.”
“Sometimes it’s easy to lose faith in people. And sometimes one act of kindness is all it takes to give you hope again.” (Randa Abdel-Fattah)
And this little gem:
“Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.” (Adam Gordon)
Take heart. Give heart. Happy Valentine’s Day.