The Transformative Power We Hold

At the tail end of my morning walk, there’s a hill.

Right before the hill, I pass a local coffee shop. In the coffee shop, there is a man who sits by the window. He has a spray of white hair, wireframe glasses, and big, sweet eyes.

When I walk by, he is reading the newspaper he’s unfolded on the table and drinking black coffee out of a Ball jar.

One morning a few months ago, he happened to look up when I was looking up. He waved and smiled. I smiled and waved back. It was a gentle moment, and a lovely one.

Over the next mornings, we’ve continued to greet each other through the window. Sometimes he raises his glass jar of coffee to me.

And this moment, this three or four second moment in the inky dark of early morning, is a turning point in my day. I pass the coffee shop and have all the juice I need to take on that hill.

I’ve come to see this man with his wireframe glasses and sweet eyes as a reminder. He reminds me that our kind gestures - however small - matter. They linger with people long after the moment has passed.

Our wave, our smile, our holding the door, our generous tip, our, “How are you?” aren’t fragile, feathery things that make no mark in the hardness of the world. They are powerful things that stitch us and our world together. We would notice it, feel it, if our day was absent kindness.

Kindness, though it may masquerade as soft and weak, is one of the mightiest forces we humans can exert in the world. It can be an inflection point in someone’s day, change the direction of their day, lighten it, elevate it, reboot it, restart it, or just plain make it better.

So a raised glass to our kindnesses. They could be just the thing someone needs to get up the next hill.

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