Wednesday, January 29, 2020

err in the direction of kindness...

My grandmother came for a visit several times a year when I was a child. She lived three hours away. My strongest memories were always the day she left. Sitting out on the front steps, watching the back of the car driving away, I remember feeling very inside-sad and inside-lost. Then, I probably went off to play.

However, crawling into bed those same evenings, there on my pillow, wrapped in a little tissue was enough change to buy some one-cent candy for a couple of days. I felt special and very cared for. Yet, the odd thing was that every time she came, I never remembered she might leave me something, so the discovery always held excitement and surprise. A simple act of kindness remembered decades and decades later still lights and warms me as I write.

Yesterday I happened to look down in my Tucson garden. And there was this little rock that smiled up at me with a dog, flowers, and inviting me to "Be Happy." Caring and delight washed through me. Then the question, who left this little gift next to the ceramic iguana. Later in the day, one of my neighbors had an impish little grin and twinkle.

Last week my cousins visited and more little acts of kindnesses, like tightening my shower hose (it just needed strong fingers), the flat tire of the bike was fixed quietly without a word, and from a neighbor this a.m, cooked shrimp and sauce arrived at my door. Oh, I also have a new hummingbird feeder on my deck put up this morning. This has all happened in the past week which reminds me of a quote a reader kindly sent me this past year.

"Do all the other things, the ambitious things - travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild, jungle rivers... but as you do, do to the extent you can, err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality - your soul if you will is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare's, bright as Gandhi's, bright as Mother Teresa's... Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, and share its fruits tirelessly." George Sanders

My cousins, my neighbors, my grandmother all incline me toward the big things -- simple, little acts of luminosity. It is a new year and a new decade. I would like to err in the direction of kindness, leave little surprises of delight and caring along the way that will warm hearts decades later. I want to "clear away everything that keeps me separate from this secret luminous place," this part of myself "that exists beyond personality" which hopefully will leave such trails of luminosity.  

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