Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Kindness of Strangers

Recently, my seniors read/watched the Tennessee Williams classic play, A Streetcar Named Desire. I love this play for many reasons, but crazy Blanche DuBois, the main character, is a big reason. Even while declining into insanity, Blanche has some profound words of wisdom.

Blanche DuBois (Vivian Leigh) is escorted to the asylum by the doctor.
This week, the truth in Blanche's last line in the play struck me. She says to the doctor who is escorting her to the asylum, "I've always depended on the kindness of strangers."

I thought about how much I depend on the kindness of strangers. The selfless act can be something small like a driver letting me into the flow of traffic or a gentleman holding the door while I enter a store. It can also be something more personal like a person reaching out to offer prayers or prepare a dinner in my time of need or a nurse asking if I’m ok even though I’m not the patient.

It’s easy to get caught up in ourselves, in our routine, in our wants. Whenever I think I’ve got everything in control and don’t really need help from others, something happens to show me how wrong I am. That’s when I’m shown kindness that humbles me. That’s when I am reminded once again that I should to be that kind, too.

If we all followed the Golden Rule, the results would be awesome. Everyone would be helpful, caring, unselfish and kind. We would put others’ needs before our own because we truly want to show kindness and be helpful. It’s all about paying it forward, not because it makes us feel better but because it makes someone else feel better.

The goal is to be conscious of others and not just of ourselves. Yes, even a small act goes a long way to help someone who is struggling. Mother Teresa said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

Kindness matters. Show it.