Monday, February 11, 2013

Mind the gap

For many of us, happiness seems to be defined on a daily -- if not hourly -- basis by the size of the gap between our expectations, what we thought we wanted or deserved, and what we've actually received.  The size of that gap seems to fluctuate considerably over the course of a lifetime, and there are times in every life when it grows so large that it becomes a deep black hole: we sink, deeper and deeper, and it seems impossible to climb out. 

What knits that gap together, for me (and I suspect for many others) are the little unexpected kindnesses we offer one another: the friends who invite us to dinner, the painter who shows up on a day's notice with enough leftover paint to do two rooms, the child who brings us a treasure from the beach, the neighbor who brings flowers.  There are so many tiny gestures we can do to brighten each other's worlds, moments of thoughtfulness and generosity which reach beyond our narrow worlds to soften the blows and knit together the gaps in one another's lives.

What if each of us just did one small kindness every day?  How much concentration would it take, to look beyond our own gaps to heal the gaps of others?

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