"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." Those words were written by Aesop, an Ancient Greek writer who lived in the 6th century BC in Athens, Greece. It's true isn't it? An act of kindness, whatever that looks or feels like, is profound. It can be life changing in fact. So I'm wondering where you've gone? What happened for you to abandon us? or perhaps, what have we done to sacrifice you?
Over the last two years, specifically since 20 August 2014 (the day my daughter was diagnosed with a genetic deletion), you have become one of the most significant words in my life. I've clung to your importance, I've sought you out through professionals, friends and family. I've been disappointed when it feels you're absent, when I've heard people use painful words to describe individuals like my child. When I read a letter from a mother who lost her child to suicide, begging for you, for kindness from others. When I watched a documentary (A World Without Down Syndrome) that suggests the medical world wants to eradicate a type of person based on their genetic profile. I wonder when we lost all sense of direction and became so cruel - surely it's not who we want to be or should be.
Kindness, to me, you are about suspending judgement - thinking before we speak, choosing our words, our language carefully. No-one wants to live in a hyper-sensitive world, where we cannot talk openly but we must also recognise the power of our words. They can damage us, they can limit us and, sadly, on occasions they can destroy us. Kindness, you are generous, warm, patient, forgiving...so often these days we choose aggressive, blunt, curt and pernicious language to assert ourselves. Why? Why have we cultivated this behaviour? From the snappy 'I don't care' slogans on our t-shirts, to our keyboard warrior antics on social media.
Kindness, you invite us to take a breath, to pause, to consider others. To take the time to be thoughtful and just. I've been acutely aware of that need to be gentle, to be respectful, since my daughter was diagnosed. Ive seen people become uncomfortable by her (she's 3), yet still I have witnessed people feeling unsure or uneasy by some of her mannerisms. It would take nothing just to be kind, a few minutes of your time to smile, to say hello 50 times if necessary. Remember Aesop's words, no act of kindness is wasted. Truly, it is not.
Every action has a reaction, every word has an effect, every wound leaves a scar, every smile lifts the spirits and every act of kindness has an impact. In a world, which at the moment seems bereft of positive stories, we need you Kindness...we need you to shine a light on us all. We need to bask in the glorious truth that kindness has power, it breaks barriers and it unites us. So, Kindness, if you can hear me, please come back.