Small Kindnesses

I’m reading through old posts I started drafting but never finished. Some of them contain only titles and subtitles; thoughts I wanted to come back to but never did. (I’m briefly disturbed by one post I apparently started writing on the eve of my 28th birthday, as I’m now 30 and time is a scary thing.)

And then I come across a post from 2020 – nothing more than a few sentences, really – that I wrote in the midst of the protests following George Floyd’s murder. I had been attempting to communicate the hopelessness I felt at the time, the weight of grief and tragedy growing heavier by the day, the feeling that everything was bad and nothing would ever change. I never posted any of these thoughts because it wasn’t my place to speak. Besides, I had nothing new to say, nothing that would change anything.

“I’ve been searching for signs of humanity in my day to day life – signs that people are good and loving and not all hope is lost,” I wrote.

And then I copied a poem I had recently come across titled “Small Kindnesses”:

I wouldn’t be sharing these words (they would have remained relegated to my post drafts) except for the fact that their sentiments remind me of an experience I had earlier this week on my way to work. I had been walking the few blocks from the subway station to my office when I had two brief experiences that compelled me to note them down in my journal. Copied and pasted from my journaling app:

Rediscovering that poem now, almost two years later, after having written about these “small kindnesses” I encountered on my way to work a few days ago, feels more than serendipitous. It makes me think that there are these ideas, these sentiments, that I carry with me in my heart and shape how I experience the world. Once I start to recognize them, and give them a voice and a name, my perception of the world alters. I pay attention to the world differently. I uncover layers of experience and depth of feeling I didn’t know existed.

Or maybe I’m just trying to get by. It’s not that serious.

Either way – I want to be the type of person who lives by these small kindnesses, who buys an extra coffee for someone who needs it, who holds the door open for others even when I’m running late.

OH! THAT REMINDS ME! I came across a Twitter thread earlier this week … let me try to find it again … and would be remiss if I didn’t share it here given that I just wrote about the MUNI and coffee and small kindnesses:

Happy Saturday. Here’s to spreading small kindnesses.



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