“In the end, only kindness matters.”
I have a close friend who lives in Iowa. Her name is Mary, and before my husband and I moved to Marco Island, Mary and I were next-door neighbors for 27 years. That’s almost three decades of vigorous waves from the driveway, impromptu potluck dinners, borrowed cups of sugar, and shared Sunday brunches. We raised a combined seven children; we claimed a total of five dogs, and we buried four parents during our time as neighbors. We’ve shared tearful challenges and bladder-bursting laughter.
Together, Mary and I have been on shopping trips, vacations, and weekend getaways. Under the influence of our husbands, we camped the shore of a Mid-Western river, boated into the salty waters of Florida’s 10,000 Islands, and bicycled across the rolling hills of rural Iowa. So, it was only natural when one day, Mary and I decided to take our mothers on a day trip together.
My own mother, as I’ve confessed in this column, is a “glass half-full” sort of person. She finds the silver lining in each cloud and the redeeming qualities of most people. She’s outgoing and happy and tends to hug strangers without much provocation. But it wasn’t until that day, many years ago, that my friend and I learned just how similar our mothers were. The four of us went to the Broadway musical “Cats” and then out to dinner, but the memory that shines brightest for me is the energy of kindness that flowed. Our mothers barely knew one another before that trip, but it was apparent in a matter of minutes that they viewed life through the same lens. They loved the songs and the dancing and the costumes of the production. Theydecided their meals that night were especially delicious. And in their collective opinions, the weather was perfect and all was right in the world. Smiles never left their faces, and the gratitude they expressed far outweighed any effort expended.
A few days ago, Mary’s mother died. She was 94 years young and she held fast to her rose-colored view of life until consciousness escaped her in the end. She slowly lost her memory and recollection of what was familiar, yet somehow retained the capacity to radiate kindness and forego judgment.
The late Wayne Dyer, an inspirational writer and speaker said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Kindness generates from within. We all have the capacity for kindness. And how we view the world around us depends entirely on the lens we are looking through. We each choose the colors we see, the amount of light we allow in, the sharpness of our focus, and the expanse of our own view.
Where we see beauty, there is beauty. When we seek pleasure, we find pleasure. And when we allow kindness to lead us, we unknowingly share kindness with those around us who are willing to receive. When we choose to express gratitude, and joy and kindness in our daily lives, we create a legacy of gratitude and joy and kindness. And a legacy doesn’t come with us at the end of life. A legacy is what remains with those we loved. Those for whom we expressed our highest gratitude, our fullest joy, and the warm blanket of kindness.
Laurie Kasperbauer is an active Florida Realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. Laurie also enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes.