I read two very nice letters to the editor of my daily newspaper the other day. These were two letters that got me thinking about how civil society would be if people had the kinds of attitude, all the time, these writers exhibited.
One letter was from an older gentlemen, who noted his age as eighty-six. He felt compelled to tell the story of how a younger person had stepped forward to prevent him from suffering a potentially harmful fall on an escalator. The second letter was in the same vein, expressing gratitude from a woman who had received assistance from someone to help her change a flat tire.
One might think why someone would take the time to write a letter to the editor of a daily newspaper to express how grateful they are for acts of kindness shown by total strangers. Let me offer an answer. I think most of us are moved by displays of kindness, especially from strangers. In the examples I just gave, the lady even apologized for not getting the name of the person who had extended grace to her. As I read her letter, I couldn’t help but think whether the individual to whom she was expressing gratitude even read the paper. I’m sure that had very little influence on her writing a heartfelt note of public thanks.
In case you’re wondering why I am spending time bogging about this. Let me count a few reasons: 1) There just doesn’t seem to be enough displays of kindness anymore; 2) Most of us welcome a smile, the opening of a door by someone, especially someone we don’t know; 3) It makes us feel good when we genuinely show kindness, as well as when we receive it; 4) If there is a God in Heaven, and I believe there is, this is how He wants us to behave toward each other; 5) Displays of kindness and the reception of such are invaluable lessons we should be teaching our children. I could think of many more reasons; however, I think you get the point.
We live in a time when the paucity of displays of grace, kindness shown toward each other is woefully lacking. News reports of our political leaders behavior toward each other is something we don’t want our children to know about. It contradicts how the workings of government are ideally described in their civic lessons. A quick tour of social media shows how people express opinions about each other that they would probably dare not do face to face. Grace toward each other seems to be too high of a price to pay towards having a more civil society.
Wouldn’t more grace be a pleasant change? If it broke out all over, it would be a welcomed epidemic.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.