Sunday, March 27, 2016

Cruel to be Kind? An Easter Message

Human beings have a concept called cruelty. We know what it is and what it does and yet we inflict it anyway. In fact, many among us love it. The war against terror could as easily be called the war against cruelty. But that war would be all inclusive on many, many fronts, and not just man to man. Cruelty is a pattern in our existence, our history, our very core. We quickly recognize and condemn it in others, but when we look at ourselves we either deny it or we say something glib like, “You have to be cruel to be kind.” “We had to destroy the village to save it.” That being said . . . There are probably many, many more kind people in the world than cruel. You just don't notice them. They rarely make headlines or the history books. Their life stories often are not as compelling. They don't seek attention or notoriety. They're just doing their jobs, keeping their corner of the world as neat and tidy and peaceful as possible. They mostly act one on one, person-in-need to person-in-need, situation by situation. It can be as simple as reaching an item down from the top shelf of the grocery store for someone more vertically challenged, to gathering discarded but still functional medical equipment and making sure it gets to people without, in regions without the capacity to supply them themselves. It can be delivered in a single word or a moment's pause to listen, in helping someone up who has fallen, in stopping to make sure someone is all right, in carrying someone else's heavy burden, in the rescue of an animal in need of a new home. Kindness is the Way, the Mindful Path, the Golden Rule in action. Kindness knows no border or ideology. It just is. Any one of us is capable of lovely, random acts of kindness that no one really notices but everyone remembers in some level of their being. Good news, they say, is no news at all. The kind are often anonymous but it is they whose names should be recalled. An act of kindness is an act of love. Kind offsets cruel; love offsets hate. And if good and evil are more than mere human constructs invented to make some sort of sense of the world and humanity within it, I know where I want to stand. This is my Easter Message and my Easter Wish: Kindness constantly resurrects itself.

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