Awkward Celebrity Encounters (@AwkCeleb) tweeted this link Tuesday and I loved the essay. So I share an excerpt with you and the article link:
Excerpt from George Saunders’s Advice to Graduates
“… 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.
Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope: Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth?
Those who were kindest to you, I bet.
Being kind is facile? Kindness IMHO is neither simple nor easily accomplished. And kindness and helping others (image right) is one example of love according to the good book, 1st Corinthians 13: 4-8 (beginning):
“ 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. …”
And I would add that kindness and love require us:
1) to remember that our words and deeds speak volumes about that which we hold dear and value;
2) to try to see the world from the other person’s perspective, because we might be the only one who tries to do so; and because their viewpoints may have merit as we reflect upon our own viewpoints;
3) to stand up for others who might be different from us–based on their race/ethnicity, gender/orientation, age, creed, class, health status, ability, etc.–as we would wish others to stand up for us;
4) to learn to let go of the hurts inflicted upon us by others–thereby taking charge of our life, and redefining our own sense of our self worth for ourselves;
5) to help when it is in our power to do so–however small we feel our actions to be, they are like raindrops that fall and combine together to make a river of new possibilities;
So for your consideration, here is a link for a British charity organization called Debra that assists people with the genetic skin condition known as Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). My good friend Kitty who sometimes comments here pointed me to their link because it was made known this week on DEBRA’s facebook page, that the British gentleman and actor Richard Armitage, whom we all admire so much, responded to a request from the DEBRA organization for his autograph (image left).
Yes, this is one small gesture. But it is one gesture of many that are characteristic of the kind and compassionate man that British actor Richard Armitage has demonstrated himself to be–with his Just Giving charitable giving support sites (also linked in my blog’s sidebar at right), with his acting and directing colleagues who esteem him greatly and praise him for his artistry and his humanity, and with his world wide fans when he meets them in person and with his annual messages, and in many other ways.
The quoted excerpt below is from the closure of Richard Armitage’s December 24, 2011 message:
“… Peace and goodwill (and I really mean that, be willingly good, extra good, extra peaceful and extra forgiving. RA”
Richard Armitage, the actor, doesn’t have to be this nice and this kind. We can name many entertainment public figures who are not. But I suspect that Richard Armitage, the man (image above right), is grounded in the teachings of his proud parents, and in being the honorable gentleman that is the hallmark of his own character.
As I have referred to in different essays from time to time, Heraclitus postulated that “Character is Destiny”. Which means that one’s thoughts, words, and deeds impact the life that we will lead–and how our life impacts others. And to Heraclitus, I also add that it is the choices we make that define our character.
So, choose to be kind. Choose to love. And choose to be good. And I will continue to do the same.
And as George Saunders hoped for himself, may our respective destinies be unburdened by the pain of regrets–of wishing that we had helped others, because we have helped others; of wishing that we had lent our support and encouragement, because we have lent our support and encouragement; of wishing that we had done more, because we have done all that we could; and of wishing that we had been kind, because we have been kind.