"I think probably kindness is my number one attribute in a human being. I'll put it before any of the things like courage or bravery or generosity or anything else."
Or brains even?
"Oh, gosh, yes, brains are one of the least. You can be a lovely person without brains, absolutely lovely. Kindness- that simple word. To be kind- it covers everything in my mind.
If you're kind that's it."
I have found that in my life, I have been most influenced by not rich, successful, strong or confident people.
I have been influenced mostly by kind people.
More than the courageous, clever, talented, tenacious. The loud or the soft.
Those who have been kind have shown me what it is to have true character.
No matter the circumstance they have taught in unspoken, unassuming gestures that you can act graciously under all kinds of pressure.
Instead of becoming a steely mirror that can only reflect the pain it has suffered.
A kind heart remains open, even if wounded. And in the warmth of that very human heart the pain is absorbed and transformed into compassion.
Kind people are like trees, refreshing and renewing the atmosphere around them.
Kindness lets sorrow soften the old cracked Autumn leaves and brittle winter branches of old hurts.
Kindness dies the death so that a tender green Spring can be born.
Unprompted, un-self aggrandising, matter of fact kindness.
Underated and essential.
It slips quietly from one heart to another like a love note under a desk.
Finding these little love notes along the way have been my saving grace.
I have learned more from the quiet kindness of a welcoming smile than all the sermons I've ever heard.
The patient kindness of an art teacher who stayed late talking out problems that were way past her pay grade.
The simple kindness that fashions yarn into warmth and beauty. That wraps a little baby warm and tight. A timeless work, though she'd hardly known us any time at all.
The impulsive kindness of a man who pushed a five pound note into may hand and told me I was too lovely to be sleeping in a doorway... The note meant dinner, but the words meant life.
And I actually believed them that day.
More than when people in their frustration for me stamped forms, made appointments and sloshed bitter coffee into polystyrene cups.
It was the kindness that did it. Lifted me up from the harsh reality.
Outwards and upwards as the thin sinewy branch of a city tree reaching for a glimmer of sunlight contorts it's shape to fit between high rise buildings. Thus I began. Upon the fertile soil of a strangers kindness.
Then there is the deep loving bottomless bowl of kindness. Unconditional, warm and full like rising dough.
In the way she smiles at me every time she looks at me, teasing the dishcloth from my hands to dry each and every last teaspoon with fierce tenderness.
Although she doesn't speak a word of English, her kindness translates her heart.
Wordlessly, in the simple act of drying dishes, I am healed.