Small Kindnesses, Episode 161

It’s in the small acts that we build a life: the way we look at one another, the way we talk to one another, the way we listen. At these times when so much of what we rely upon is being called into question, what does it take for us to see that it’s these small acts that also shape who we are? Can we learn to be the ones who, a step at a time, bring to the world exactly what we are longing for? Can we learn to be the ones who relate to one another with the dignity and sacredness that’s the possibility for all human beings? This episode of Turning Towards Life is a conversation about reciprocity, kindness and simple acts of mutual recognition, hosted as always by Lizzie Winn and Justin Wise of Thirdspace.

This is Turning Towards Life, a weekly live 30 minute conversation hosted by Thirdspace in which Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn dive deep into big questions of human living. Find us on FaceBook to watch live and join in the lively conversation on this episode. We’re also on YouTube, and as a podcast on Apple, Google and Spotify. You can find videos of every episode, and more about the project on the Turning Towards Life website.

Our source this week is brought to us by Justin, and is written by Danusha Laméris

Small Kindnesses
By Danusha Laméris


I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”

from ‘Bonfire Opera’, University of Pittsburgh Press

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash