Thursday, 7 April 2011

In The End Only Kindness Matters

Back to the writing board. For a few days now I've had this feeling that there are words just beneath the surface, linking hands with each other, forming little clusters, little sentences that end up becoming pieces of text. Chapters. Who knows what. They've been tapping on my shoulder. Hey you. Remember us? We Want Out. And out they've come. I've been inspired. Poems. Words. Why is this, you might ask. Like I said the last time, things have happened that to other, more world-weary among us, would probably mean very little, but that to me, the ever-idealist-me, mean quite a lot more. And I have, as ever, been left wondering about the nature of humanity. Humpf. Yeah. I hear you. Humanity, she says. Well, let me start by a question.

The quality of being humane.

What do you do if a friend you've known for most of your life seems to be turning into someone you really, really no longer can comprehend? Into someone you would never, never in your life as it is, and as you in your life are, want to be around if you met them this very day. If after every time you spend time with them, you come out feeling like you've been dragged through something dark, something so negative that it takes you hours, days, to gather your thoughts back to yourself. That because they know you so well, because they are, used to be, such loved friend of yours, their negativity manages to touch you much deeper than that of a stranger ever would. What Do You Do? I am at loss. I try to reason. I talk. I try to touch that part in them that I still believe is there. I try to tell myself that this is temporary. That this is not the person I know. That this is not the friend I love. That she is still somewhere in there. And yet. When I wrestle with the effect of her words, the effect of what my brain understands to be unwitting cruelty, I realise that I might not, after all, be strong enough to deal with it. That after all. I am only human. We all are. And sometimes, not so nice things are done in the name of honesty, friendship and good advice. And it makes me sad. And naturally, makes me wonder. How much are we supposed to grin and bear, in the name of friendship?

And I already know the answer to that.

Unfortunately, I've had to deal with rather a lot of unpleasantness from people lately. Well, not people as such, but some people. To the point where you start feeling like ok, who cares, I'll just be unpleasant right back. And yet, I refuse to do that. Because like I've said so many times, here and elsewhere, isn't this exactly what people who revel in negativity, who take joy in taking your joy, who choose to be argumentative even when it is not called for instead of just well, being kind, want you to do. And wouldn't that be giving in to the whole culture of cynicism, of coldness and I-care-about-nothing? It would indeed. Well, bring a little positive psychology to the picture, please. 

This is also starting to sound like repeating myself, but if right now you are thinking to yourself, yeah, well, easy for her to say, she's probably one of those sunny-side-of-the-street people, never had to do a days battle in her life, then, love, let me remind you otherwise. 

If I walk on the sunny side of the street it is because I indeed fought more than a days battle to get there. I have seen more than most regular people ever will, and yet, I am happy to say that I still get hurt. Yeah. You read that right. I am actually happy about the fact that I still get hurt. That I cry oh so easily, at cruelty, at injustice. I say silly things to the people I care about, like, well, I care about you. And goodness what does it say about the world today, about the world I've seen, that one should think that saying a thing like that to the people you care about is silly! If I miss someone, I just might send them a message in the middle of the night saying I miss you. I tell people, You are important to me, do take care of yourself. Damn, I've even been known to say I love you to someone without waiting for them to say it first. Because lets stop here for a second. How would that work if no-one ever said anything nice, anything kind, anything loving to anyone but just waited, waited, waited until something of the sort was first said to them? Kinda catch-22, don't you think? But oh, wait, aren't we kinda living in a world like that already...

So to hell with it. Just be silly. Be brave. Close your eyes. Open your heart. Let it out. True. You might get laughed at. You might get your words thrown back at you. You might get hurt. But you might also get a smile. You might see that your words touched somebody's heart. That because of a simple thing you did, you said, somebody is, if only for a few moments, a little happier. That you made a difference.

A few years ago, I was standing in a supermarket line. Few days before Christmas. People everywhere with their shopping trolleys filled to the brim with stuff. Me with my few little pieces of shopping, tuning out. Until something from the front of the queue reached my ears. The couple there apparently did not have enough credit on their account for their purchases. Which were not plenty. Just your basic groceries. So they begun to choose things to leave out. I saw people in the line turn their heads away. Heard conversations stop. And then an old man in front of me walked up to the couple, handed out his card to the cashier, without any unnecessary bravado, and told her to put the groceries on the card. Which the cashier did. And as the couple begun to thank the man, he just very simply shook their hands, wished them merry christmas and walked back to his place in front of me. And as one of the other people in the queue said to this old man that what he did was such a nice thing to do, all he said was that as we none of us get to take anything with us from this world when we leave, isn't it better to give before its too late

So, this man had money to give. It wasn't much and it probably made no difference to him either way. So why is it so difficult for us to part with words that have the power to make someone feel better, just like it seems to be so easy for us to part with words that have the power to make us feel so much worse? Why not spread the kindness. Start today. Because, in the end, only kindness matters.


  1. As usual, I am left speechless. To modify one of those "positive thoughts:" You communicate with love.

    I am so sorry about your friendship; I know its hard when people change for the worse and you want to help, but can't. Unfortunately, I have no advice beyond what you seem to have already tried.

    I would say that it's her loss, but that sounds too casual/flippant, so I'll just say that you seem to be an incredibly beautiful person.


  2. What a wonderful post. I really relate to the story about your friendship, a very difficult situation, indeed.

    I really like your page, I'm bookmarking it!

  3. Lovely written and so true!

  4. The story about the old man at the supermarket brought tears to my eyes. How rare it is to see such acts of kindness, yet how natural it should be for all of us! You are absolutely right: we have to speak honestly and do the things that our heart wills us - we have more to lose if we remain silent.