And when I needed kindness, the world was awfully kind to me. I would get more work, people would read my writing, strangers would be oddly helpful, almost as if some memo were sent out: careful, his heart will break soon. And it did. It always did. I wish I would’ve gotten the memo first. Yesterday, I was at the coffee shop. I ordered my coffee. Beside the cup, on the saucer, came a doughnut hole. They do not serve them with coffee; I wonder what’s special about today? I questioned silently. Then, the memo occurred to me. For a second, I became sad. I was not used to it. Even the smallest acts of kindness scared me. What do they know? What do they know that they won’t tell me?
Perhaps, this was the damage that many told me about. We must fight the damage. It was not enough to be kind. We had to let it happen to us until it felt like it was how the world worked—even if it did not, especially if it did not. To be kind was a decision; to accept kindness was a rebellion. We had to take up arms against the damage. We had to pull it out like a weed in the garden. We must go out into the rapids of every day, and learn to tame the waves, learn to come out on top, and even if we go under, we must remember there is no other joy as delightful as being washed over by goodness—to believe that it exists without a reason to do so. Most good things in the world exist this way. Most people are kind in this way.
There is hope yet for this world if when someone offers in earnest to make you coffee, instead of creating a mess, a raucous ruckus of “there’s no need”, and “you don’t have to”, and “no, no, I just had coffee”, you say, “yes, thank you so, I could use a cup if I’m being honest. I am glad I am in here with you; I am so glad we know each other. Isn’t the weather just lovely today? It’s so cold. I would not want to be anywhere else today. Thank you for letting me in.”
The secret to saving the world was accepting a cup of coffee without retaliation. Most rebellions happened this way—in silent agreements. “I love that you are in my life.” “Thank you, I feel the same way. I am glad I was here when you were here, too.”
If we can do this, there is hope yet for everything.