'Love your neighbor as yourself' - Mark 12:31
In 2018 the writer George Saunders gave a Convocation Speech on the subject of kindness to the graduates of Syracuse University. In the speech, he recalls some of the bigger mistakes and mishaps of his life, and notes that despite their negative consequences, he regrets none of them. Instead, it is a small moment from his youth, a foible of omission rather than commission, that still niggles at him:
"In seventh grade, this new kid joined our class. In the interest of confidentiality, her Convocation Speech name will be 'Ellen.' Ellen was small, shy. She wore these blue cat's-eye glasses that, at the time, only old ladies wore. When nervous, which was pretty much always, she had a habit of taking a strand of hair into her mouth and chewing on it.
So she came to our school and our neighborhood, and was mostly ignored, occasionally teased ("Your hair taste good?" - that sort of thing). I could see this hurt her. I still remember the way she'd look after such an insult: eyes cast down, a little gut-kicked, as if, having just been reminded of her place in things, she was trying, as much as possible, to disappear. After awhile she'd drift away, hair-strand still in her mouth. At home, I imagined, after school, her mother would say, you know: "How was your day, sweetie?" and she'd say, "Oh, fine." And her mother would say, "Making any friends?" and she'd go, "Sure, lots."
Sometimes I'd see her hanging around alone in her front yard, as if afraid to leave it.
And then - they moved. That was it. No tragedy, no big final hazing. One day she was there, next day she wasn't. End of story.
Now, why do I regret that? Why, forty-two years later, am I still thinking about it? Relative to most of the other kids, I was actually pretty nice to her. I never said an unkind word to her. In fact, I sometimes even (mildly) defended her.
But still. It bothers me. So here's something I know to be true, although it's a little corny, and I don't quite know what to do with it: What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded... Sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly."
When I ask myself, 'What good shall I do this day?' this story will never be far from my mind. I found myself looking back over some of the times of my life when I saw hurting or rejected people and I recognized the response of George Saunders as also my response: sensible, reserved, mild.
Make a sincere decision with your life so that you will not miss the opportunities to love your neighbor as yourself, and not allow failures of kindness to be a part of you. This is one of the key ways you can honor God with all of your life.
All real men love to eat. - Marlene Dietrich
I must be cruel, only to be kind. - William Shakespeare
Admiration, like love, wears out. - Marquis de Vauvenargues
Forget injuries; never forget kindness. - Confucius
Ultimately, blind faith is the only kind. - Mason Cooley
It is not love that is blind, but jealousy. - Lawrence Durrell
If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark. - William Shakespeare
We loved with a love that was more than love. - Edgar Allan Poe
Mr. President, I love you, but you're wrong. - Paul Harvey
A lot of people attack the sea. I make love to it. - Jacques Cousteau
True love begins when nothing is looked for in return. - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The heart that is generous and kind most resembles God. - Robert Burns
Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies. - Aristotle
I love bringing roses to a woman when she least expects it. - Esai Morales
Even when they have nothing, the Irish emit a kind of happiness, a joy. - Fiona Shaw
I want to be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren. - JRR Tolkien
Women might be able to fake orgasms. But men can fake a whole relationship. - Sharon Stone
A woman's best love letters are always written to the man she is betraying. - Lawrence Durrell
Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine! - Thomas Hood
I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by loving. - Anais Nin
Love endures only when the lovers love many things together and not merely each other. - Walter Lippmann
The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things. - Plato
Let choice whisper in your ear and love murmur in your heart. Be ready, here comes life. - Unknown
It is difficult to inspire others to accomplish what you haven't been willing to try. - Unknown
Love is not blind - it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less. - Julius Gordon
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. - Lao Tzu
The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines. - Charles Kuralt
You must do what you love. Sometimes your passion will be the only thing that keeps you motivated. - Faydra D. Fields
Through compassion and care we are compelled to random acts of kindness and demonstrations of love. - Jean Hamilton-Ford
I'd kiss a frog even if there was no promise of a Prince Charming popping out of it. I love frogs. - Cameron Diaz
We are each given a limitless capacity to love and attain wisdom. The extent we use these gifts is our choice. - Anthony Douglas
I love solving puzzles, I love finding my way around obstacles, and I love learning new things about technology. - Kevin Mitnick
If we would build on a sure foundation in friendship, we must love friends for their sake rather than for our own. - Charlotte Bronte
The best portion of a good man's life;
His little nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love. - William Wordsworth
Alzheimer's disease starts when a protein that should be folded up properly misfolds into a kind of demented origami. - Gregory Petsko
There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment. - Sarah Dessen
I'm fairly adventurous with my eating. I've tried kangaroo, and Moreton Bay bugs, which are a kind of lobster, are so good. - Brian O'Driscoll
If I were a flower,
humming bird would be my favourite bee
And If I were blind,
the light of darkness I'd love to see - Munia Khan
I'll love you, dear, I'll love you till China and Africa meet and the river jumps over the mountain and the salmon sing in the street. - W H Auden
Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness. - George Sand