Friday, March 05, 2010

Legacy of Kindness

William Wordsworth once penned:
"That best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love."

I feel that, although the facts of the acts may remain unremembered by those who received the kindness or by the benefactor, any act of unrequited kindness lives on, dancing endlessly in the night, adding to the warmth, the flickering illumination of the soul of the human race. When I see a small token, or note, or image that reminds me of any act of kindness done for me, even though I cannot remember who or what or where or when, a warm happiness steals over my soul. Perhaps a small smile will light my face, just for an instant, and the tiny life of that kindness flares forth to lift my spirit and light my path.

As humans, we are blessed with the capacity to recall past moments, viscerally reliving the feelings, joys, fears, and pains of the past. When put into words and shared, the flame splits, is rekindled, divided and yet grows brighter with the sharing. In this way, even the smallest act of kindness lives on, grows, and becomes a silent, living legacy.

Those "random acts of kindness" truly have a life of their own.


Legacy of Kindness

As night's dark blanket shelters one and all,
And little, nameless, unrequited acts
Are done for others, whether big or small,
These kindnesses survive beyond the facts.
Cold facts, that flicker quickly and disperse,
Swift disappearing softly in the night,
Dance incidental, fleeting, and diverse,
Then vanish, tracelessly from mortal sight.
And yet somehow, I sense that there remain,
Small kindled flames of life I cannot see,
That warmly, endlessly endure, and fain
Grant me this one consoling memory:
The kindly acts I do live after me,
A silent, unremembered legacy.

Mick McKellar
March 2010

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