Alexander Averin

Sunday 16 December 2007

Random Acts of Kindness

Dear Diary,

It is 16th December 2007. However, there are only thirty minutes left of this day and one thing is for sure, it will never come again. It is the day that bloggers all over the world have been asked to perform (and record) a random act of kindness.

I have had a quiet and very restful Sunday. I’ve hardly performed any acts at all apart from venturing out a few times with tasty morsels for my garden birds and to exercise the dogs. I haven’t been anywhere, well only a quick flight down to the local garage to get a Sunday paper. I didn’t get much of a chance to be kind there, apart from exchanging a few kind-I-hope words with a neighbour. The outdoor temperature has been only a degree above freezing, with a biting wind, so, like most people around here I would imagine, I’ve stayed indoors and spent time curled up on the sofa by the woodburner. A really lazy Sunday.

I have sent healing thoughts to someone in need. Three people n need in fact. I hope that each will qualify as an act of kindness? And I have asked others to do the same in one instance, hoping perhaps that it will increase the power with a wonderful ripple effect, the much needed pattern that will hopefully change this world for the better. After all this is the purpose of the appointed day of kindness.

I was also meditating on kindness and working out why only some people are drawn to be so. I remember a hymn I sang as a child in junior school. I loved hymns, little did I know it was mainly the words that attracted me so and unbeknown to me at the time, a love affair with poetry was in its infancy.

One hymn I really loved singing was this one below, written of course by William Blake. I love his poetry now but as a child it was just a hymn I had to sing at school. His words struck a chord in my sensitive soul and the first verse especially stayed with me throughout my life.

On Another's Sorrow
A Song of Innocence

Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird's grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear --

And not sit beside the next,
Pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant's tear?

And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
Oh no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

He doth give his joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not year.

Oh He gives to us his joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled an gone
He doth sit by us and moan.

William Blake

Another poem by Blake that I love is this one:

The Divine Image

A Song of Innocence

To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of of delight
Return their thankfulness.
For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is God, our father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is Man, his child and care.
For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.
Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.
And all must love the human form,
Where Mercy, Love, & Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.

Learned readers will notice that I have taken a line out of the last verse which nowadays would be construed as extremely racist! (Not that Blake was being racist, rather the opposite).

I’ll sign off now but before I do I would like to mention the power of thought. If we can’t actually do anything to help another because the opportunity is not always there, we can always think kind, positive thoughts. They carry energy and have tremendous power.

And always remember to be kind to yourself as well.

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,


Frances said...

A late good evening to you, Cait.

Until reading your blog, I had no idea of this day being devoted to random acts of kindness. So thanks to you for the prompt.

Strangely, I like to extend those random thoughts, and acts, too, every day. Sometimes, it is just jumping in to hold a door open to a mom with a stroller, so she can enter/exit more easily.

Sometimes, actually most days, I have all sorts of opportunities to extend these kindnesses (all these without any wish for a thank you) to many people in the shop, or on the phone to the shop.

The subway line that I use to travel to work carries on to the last stop with its proximity to the Statue of Liberty. So...daily, I help visitors to our city/country to find the way to see the Lady of Liberty up close. And on and on, on and on.

Very random, and very minor, but a pleasure to give these kindnesses, and I do admit that these gifts really do give me, the donor, a glow.


Pondside said...

I didn't know that this was a special day - but I'll tell my colleagues at work tomorrow. You see, we've been drawing names each Monday morning and then doing something kind for the person whose name we've drawn. It has had a lovely effect on our otherwise-tough and gloomy office.

Casdok said...

I didnt know either!
Good post!

Cait O'Connor said...

It was Zoe who alerted me to the Blogers Kindness Day, there is a post from her in the Purplecoo Common Room.
Frances I agree......... kindness imparts to the giver a lovely glow...for whatever you send out gets sent back to you (times three they say!).
Pomdside that is a lovely idea, hope you let us know how it goes.
Casdok, Thank You.

Kathleen said...

What a lovely blog entry! Too late for me; I didn't know about the random acts of kindness day. Hopefully I didn't let someone down by not accomplishing that.

DAB said...

Cait,human kindess always reminds me of the song by Randy Newman
and I quote....
I Think It's Going To Rain Today
Broken windows and empty hallways
A pale dead moon in the sky streaked with gray
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today
Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles
With frozen smiles to chase love away
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today
Lonely, lonely
Tin can at my feet
Think I'll kick it down the street
That's the way to treat a friend
Bright before me the signs implore me
Help the needy and show them the way
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today
.... TFx

ALF said...

I have to constantly remind myself to be positive instead of negative. Thanks for your post!


That's a lovely thought, Cait - I feel such random acts of kindness without seeking anything in return are an excellent way of connecting with people. And kindness usually breeds kindness - often in the most unexpected places.

Sam Fox said...

I didn't know about this Day either, but hope I unwittingly joined in...

Lovely post, thank you.

Chris Stovell said...

Cait, thank you for posting this. A happy Christmas and peaceful New Year to you. Hwyl, Chris

Tattieweasle said...

I am always surprised when people thank me if I've done something which they feel is a kindness and I, well I, think it is normal - to hold a door open, pick up a dropped bag, help someone to their car - I get a bit embarrassed. But I think of all the acts of kindness that are done for me every day and well, doing them back helps keep the balance.

Fennie said...

Yes the random acts of kindness thing crops up in 'Don't Sweat the Small Stuff' one of my favorite self-help books by Richard Carlsson. A most excellent book. Thanks, for all your inspiration, Cait, in your blogs. And I share some Irish ancestry, one of my grandmothers coming from Co.Cork.

Exmoorjane said...

I have totally missed the random acts day - but it's a practice I love and have been carrying out for - oh heck - the last twenty years. When the phrase became formalised it was a case of 'but doesn't everyone do that?'..... Takes so little to help people out or give nice surprises or whatever...and it's so much easier to be nice than nasty... being grumpy takes SO much effort! I always used to wish we had more toll roads as I love the idea of paying the toll for the person behind.....
It's quite selfish in a funny way as - as other people have said before - it gives the giver a real warm glow too.....but then giving is always (well, often) a lot more fun than receiving....


CAMILLA said...

Thank you Dear Cait,

I did not know it was a special day. I could not imagine how I would get through a day now and then if I did not give an act of kindness. Be it holding the door open for another, or visiting elderly neighbours that are all alone.

I love those Poems Cait, thank you so much for sharing with us.