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Sarah O'Leary Headshot

Kind-ness

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Words hold a special fascination for me which I guess, as a writer, is a serious vocational benefit. A child without an ounce of physical superiority in a house filled with older boys, words were my expression and my aggression and my defense and my rapier retort. Most importantly, they were the brush strokes of my escapes. I used them to create worlds where I felt safe and comfortable and happy. I may not have used words for all the right reasons growing up, but I appreciate them in a way that someone who didn't have my life might not.

I am particularly interested in the genus of words. Today I woke up considering the word "kindness." Literally, it means "similar in type." Kind-ness is a word about finding something together we share. Its accepted usage connotes a positive benefit we give to one another. An "act of kindness" is a gift. When we realize our similarity, we become closer. Our alikeness is our kindness, and our ability to find common ground our connection.

Imagine if we could look at all of the citizens of the planet with kind-ness. If we looked at how alike we are, rather than how different. We find hate and anger and the other negatives in our world in our strangeness. We allow ourselves to resent and hate and harm persons who don't share our religion or our color or our viewpoint or our geography or our genealogy. If we first looked at them in kind-ness, it would be a whole lot more difficult to roust the anger and hatred and fear necessary to corrupt their legitimacy.

The word "strange" has an inherent negative connotation. If it is strange, it is abnormal, different and somehow outside of what we accept. By placing a moniker on someone or a group as strange or different, we categorize all that we think of them. There is no kind-ness in strangeness.

I have a theory about how the world will end that never graced the pages of Revelations. Through acceptance, we will naturally seek more intimate racial relationships. We will have more children of mixed ethnic and racial make-ups. And in the end, we will all look the same. And when we reach a point where we have to admit our sameness and accept each other completely, God will come down from the clouds and call it a day. At that moment, He will say our lessons have been learned and off to Heaven we will go.

And there, in the clouds, we will celebrate our kind-ness.