What inventions have had the biggest impact on my life?

This is a question I was recently posed

and I didn’t have to think a lot about it before this answer I composed.


I didn’t need to mull the question over…

didn’t need to give it too much thought

because I realized almost immediately

The best inventions are the ones that can’t be bought.


There are many inventions that make my life more effortless…

that make it easier for me.

There’s electricity, the light bulb, the phone the computer

the car, the radio, running water and TV.


I’m sure I’m leaving others out…

I’m sure there are many more

more inventions that make my life much easier 

than my ancestors who came before.


But I’d like to thank whoever invented love and kindness 

and the capacity to care…

whoever invented generosity, decency and the ability to share.


Certainly man-made inventions have made my life easier

but the invention of friendship, the invention of the smile….

the invention of love and kindness and caring…

they have made my life worthwhile. 


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When we toss a stone into a quiet lake…

we watch perfect circles flow

spreading out from that one act…

we see them grow...

and grow...

and grow.


And we marvel at the beauty…

and how easy it was to make.

with the simple toss of one stone…

endless ripples across the lake.


Which makes me wonder…


When we show another person an act of kindness or love,

when we toss a simple smile to a stranger, a friend, or a foe

spreading out from that one act…

how much will that kindness grow?


Hopefully, we will marvel at the beauty as we begin to understand…

how one simple act of kindness...of love 

can send endless ripples  across the land?



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Flowers have a language they share with all the trees.

Sometimes you can hear their voices carried on the breeze


Flowers speak from on the ground…

trees from up above

sharing words of kindness, 

words of compassion

words of acceptance

words of love.


If you listen closely to their voices never will you hear

words of anger

words of hate

words to cause another fear.


As I listen to the language of us humans 

carried on the breeze…

I pray for the day when we are as fluent

as the flowers and the trees. 


Have you ever noticed when people help each other out

when they show compassion…when they show they care

when they do something nice for one another

there’s a kind of magic in the air.


Faced with the coronavirus…a virus the world can no longer ignore

the restaurant next to our bookstore decided to close its doors.


I was behind the counter in the bookstore 

There was only a young mother and her daughter in the children’s nook

where they sat on the floor together…quietly reading books.


While they were keeping busy reading and I was at the counter…occupied

the owner of the restaurant that was closing …happened to walk inside.


“We are closed.” she said to me with, I must say, the most cheerful attitude

Then asked, since they could no longer use it…if I would want some food.


She quickly returned with three bags of food

I thanked her and thought…I really can't believe it…

she seemed as happy to give me her food…as I was to receive it.


I set the bags behind the counter as the young mother and daughter left the nook

then came up to the counter to purchase their new books.


As they stood in front of me…I guess I got caught up in the mood…

I told them about the restaurant and asked if they could use some food.


As it turned out they were adopting a baby that very day…

and had just driven in from Tennessee

They noticed our bookstore on their way to buy food for the kitchen of their B and B.


Let me save you a trip, I said handing her the 3 bags of food

“Thank you.” she said. “this is wonderful…I really can’t believe it.”

I smiled…as happy to give her the food…

as she was to receive it…


With the virus wreaking havoc…on every person…everywhere.  

It’s nice to know we can still find moments…


when there is magic in the air.

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They wanted to be superheroes

They took their inspiration from the beauty and the softness of a flower

and understood their gentleness

and their kindness


is their superpower.

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When we arrive at the gates of heaven

(or in whatever form of ‘heaven’ we might believe)

no doubt we will be joyous

perhaps we’ll feel relieved…


For the moment we step into our paradise

the reason…we will find..

was not what God we believed in

our sexual preference

or the color of our skin


but simply…being kind

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When you see a person in wheel chair?

Have you ever thought about their plight?

Thought about their daily struggles…about how they sleep at night?


Wondered though they may be paralyzed…if they feel any pain?

Wondered how they get around in snow or sleet or rain


Have you ever thought of all the pathways in this world that slant?

When you think of all they places you can go…

Have you thought about where they can’t?


When you see a person without sight…

have you ever thought about their plight?

Thought about how they navigate the world…or live in constant night.


Wondered how they choose their toothpaste or the clothes they wear?

Wondered if they mix up day and night and how difficult are stairs?


When you see a sunrise, sunset, or the colors of a flowering plant

When you see the beauty all around you…have you ever thought…they can’t


When you see a person who is deaf

Have you ever thought about their plight?

What it’s like not to hear the melodies of the day…or the harmonies of the night?


Wondered if they feel more danger, more anxiety more fear

living in a world of sounds…but sounds they cannot hear..


When you hear someone call your name, or sing or scream or chant

as you listen to the music of life, have you ever thought…they can’t.


Have you ever thought of all their families 

helping those who cannot walk or see or hear

and of all the unseen ways they show their love…

every day…

of every year.


What if those of us who are lucky…

who can walk and hear and chant

take a moment every day to think of those who can’t… 


To help in any way we can…

for love has many ways it can be shone

knowing the weight of any burdens is less


when we don’t carry it alone.

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Kindness has been compared to a snowfall

because it is gentle, soft and slow 

and makes everything it covers more beautiful…

kind of like the snow.


A man on an airplane holds a crying child

a child he does’t know

his kindness calms the moment…

kind of like the snow.


A boy ties the shoe of a policeman carrying our flag

so on the parade can go

it was a silent moment of kindness…

kind of like the snow.


A woman pays for a child’s birthday cake…

in memory of a child that child will never know

there is an unspoken beauty in the moment…

kind of like the snow


An act of kindness, however small, is never wasted

or so the saying goes

because one act of kindness combines with others…

kind of like the snow.


And a myriad of kindnesses are combined

it gives your heart a thrill

because kindness packed together 

is like a snowball…if you will…


to get that snowball rolling

all it takes is a little shove

and off it goes down the mountain

spreading kindness…

spreading love.


and wherever that kindness happens to roll

be it gentle, soft…or slow

it makes our world more beautiful…


kind of like the snow

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A woman stopped into the store last night and asked me a question I didn’t quite understand.

It wasn’t the question I had trouble with…it’s that she did her taking with her hands.


I felt bad I didn’t understand her…I tried to pick up what information that I could

Her sign language, I imagine, was perfect…mine…I’m sure isn’t so good.


So she tried speaking and signing at the same time…she had a question about a book

but between her hands and her lips…I couldn’t decide at which one to look.


Finally I looked into her eyes…smiled and said I have a plan

tell me again what you want…and I’ll listen as best as that I can.


I watched her lips and I listened…her speech was actually quite good

and when she finished I smiled and nodded…because I think I understood.


I took her to the book she wanted…and it made me feel nice

when I was able to answer her questions about the story and the price…


After buying the book and taking her bag…she was about to go on her way

when I said to her in my best sign language I hope you have a nice day…


I might have said have a nice year…or I love you….as I say my sign language isn’t so good

but she smiled, nodded her head and thanked me…so I think she understood.


I noticed she had a smile on her face as she waved to me….goodbye

and as I waved a goodbye back to her I noticed…so did I.


I guess kindness is universal…a language everyone can understand

Whether expressing it in English, 

In French 

In Spanish…


or if we’re talking with our hands.

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