Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness – Confucius
How many awful, cruel, dishonest and utterly nasty people have enraged you recently? Where’s their human kindness? Watching the banking and political scandals always generates heat for me yet, of course there are many (at face value) nice people involved. Is corruption, criminality, conspiracy, poor leadership, insensitivity, hypocrisy and waste all there is?
I was exchanging tweets with some people the other day and found their anger remarkable. The focus stayed on the awfulness of big business, politicians and apparatchiks; no words on solutions … interesting. Passive rage beats active problem solving hands-down.
It wouldn’t do to be serious and concerned all the time. Recently I was in touch with friends in Seattle. When I visit, their kindness, hospitality and friendship breeds a special kind of warmth in my heart as does visiting with their friends and neighbours.
Now, closer to home: A laugh with my barber as he trimmed. We sorted the world’s problems and a solution for engaging young people in fifteen minutes flat. In fact there are four examples that speak to me as I write this:
- Give: mentoring a friend about to confront a difficult situation.
- Take: An amazing, out of the blue, offer of support from an unexpected source – Human kindness in action.
- Share: A chat with a friend who chose to take our communication to a new level of intimacy and trust, building a bond.
- No Strings Love: A warm hug from my grandsons. All of these things fill a store cupboard of positives and loving energy.
And, yesterday, another delightful contact when a business associate visited. He’s a big guy, six feet five and solid. He walked in holding The Angels’ Cut and asked me to sign it. I was moved by how pleased he is for me – simple, human and touching.
As Good As it Gets
I remember Jack Nicholson in the film As Good As It Gets. As the story unfolds, he finds the love and kindness in himself, and the joy as others reciprocate. The movie made me smile and shared a finer perspective of humanity, I smile thinking of it just now.
Funny isn’t it, on the one hand I’m a concerned, sometimes enraged, observer of our human frailties – I write tough words to challenge mischief and mendacity. On the other hand: a touch, a gentle word, friendship, kindness, love; such strength and depth running alongside the bad stuff. Good and evil cheek by jowl.
It is very easy to slip into a negative feeling about political mischief, corruption and so on. Yet I’d be surprised if most of the vilified people don’t have a “give-and-take” kind and generous side, and people who have good things to say about them.
How can we help each other to tap into the well of human kindness and respect?
Might it become our natural response to evil?
Could it change the world?