The longer I live, the more convinced I become that the core of human nature is rooted in thousands of ordinary acts of kindness that define our days. Oh yes, there are also thousands of evil deeds to counteract the effect; to make us feel the world is a lousy place at times, but when you look around and see the smiles on the faces of children; hear the sound of laughter; walk in a garden, or just wander through a wood and stop to smell the flowers, the overwhelming feeling one gets is that our world is a wonderful place.
Sometimes, when I’m just walking through a supermarket, or ambling along through the small town of Carmarthen on a Saturday morning, I look at people’s faces and by just smiling as I pass, the recognition of a friendly gesture is met with a reciprocal lighting up of their eyes and a slower lift to the curve of their lips. Just for a moment, we share a bond of mutual comprehension and the world is a better place.
Just two weeks ago I was looking forward to the visit of my daughter. She was driving from Pershore, in Worcestershire, with two old friends who had been staying with her. They live in Hamburg and we had last met up over thirty years ago. During the interval, we had lost husbands and become widows; our daughters had become mothers, gone through the trauma of separation and divorce, and as grandmothers, we both had grey hair, as well as more than a few laughter lines that will never feel the plumping effects of Botox. Despite the separation, we have always continued our correspondence, and discovered that our conversation at this first meeting, after so many years, flowed just as easily as if there had been no interval since our last face to face conversation.
It had all started when the oldest daughter of their family came to our home as an au pair to improve her English, and later, our daughter went to Hamburg to do the same. Friendship blossomed through mutual acts of kindness, and the rest is history – but that’s life, a catalogue of kindnesses.