|From Facebook - no attribution or location
|One of Facebook's spectaculars (photoshopped?)
|Wow! It's Pay Up or else.
KINDNESS - FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS & STRANGERS
Every so often I post to Facebook instances of kindness I have encountered, but in this dark time when words such as genocide, dictator, drone strike, censorship, and starvation are being bandied about. When hate seems to rule—religious hate, race hate, gender hate, thought hate, alleged patriotic hate—and civility seems to have disappeared into the dim recesses of the twentieth century, I believe it is important to credit the many people who still live by the rules of decency, of caring for others—even perfect strangers. In fact, these people are the world's only hope. No matter how horribly governments govern, how violent the criminals and terrorists among us, most people still come under the category called, "the salt of the earth." Those who survive without hate. Those who reach out a hand to their neighbors, even to perfect strangers. It happens all the time; only occasionally do these gestures make the news. (Sigh.) So, below, I'm going to enumerate some of my own experiences with "kindness" and hope this list will help keep the spirit of caring alive and well in what appears to be a world gone mad.
Friends. Not so surprising when friends reach out to help in time of need, but I want to list the choir at Church of the Resurrection as what I call my second family. Knowing they are always there, whether it's just a warm greeting, helping me with the giant task of moving music folders from one file cabinet to another, or putting a stand-up footer on the bottom of my cane, someone is always ready to help.
Neighbors. I am blessed to have kind neighbors living on both sides of me. (Alas, the ones across the street recently moved away.) These are the neighbors who bring up my recycling bins from the street, the neighbors who transfer my newspaper from the driveway to my kitchen door. The neighbors who bring me the Amazon packages delivered to the their house instead of mine, the neighbors I can count on to come running when I can't reach the @#$% smoke alarm that won't stop beeping! The neighbors who consistently let me know they're always available if I need help.
Strangers. Most remarkable of all, the kindness of perfect strangers. The ones who simply smile, compliment my sparkly hat (a frequent occurrence), or hold open doors. The instance that most sticks in my mind occurred shortly after I moved to Longwood when a boy of 8 or 9, a good ten feet ahead of me, paused and held the door to a store open for me. And how many times I have asked someone taller than I—which is nearly everyone—to take my favorite yogurt down from the top shelf. Add in the nods, smiles, and excuse-me's that happen every trip to the grocery store, and yes, I have hope the world is not going to hell in a handbasket, as the saying goes. That kindness and, yes, civility will endure because without it, we are truly doomed.
CIVILITY - what a better world this would be if it were practiced outside our neighborhoods; say, in the world of politics, the world of international relations, the world of humanity. And, yes, in the world of religion where all too often kindness is reserved solely for those who think the same way we do.
Moral of this tale: Spread kindness wherever you can. It very well may be our last resort.
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I like to think that kindness is a quality practiced in all my books, but when I went to look for examples, I had to scratch my head. Even in the mildest Regency Romance, the heroine must face adversity; i.e., kindness is sparse. In the end I decided to choose The Lady Takes a Risk, part of the Regency Warrior series and the book that would lead to The Abominable Major and the Matthew Wolfe series. And, oh yes, it is one of the many books in which Jack Harding makes a timely appearance.
The daughter of a duke, determined to escape her father's candidate for her hand, proposes marriage to the former colonel of an elite cavalry regiment, who is escaping his wartime memories as a hops farmer in Kent. Not only do the newlyweds have to learn to adapt to one another, but to their dismay, they discover that for the veterans of the Royal 10th Hussars, the war is not yet over.
Thanks for stopping by,Grace (Blair Bancroft)