Image courtesy of ArvindBalaraman/
Image courtesy of ArvindBalaraman/

It was almost a cliche in theater classes, the line uttered by Blanche du Bois in Tennessee Williams’ epic play Streetcar Named Desire: “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”  But it really isn’t a cliche – it’s something each of us has experienced, felt, enjoyed.

The kindness of strangers.

We see a lot of kindness in the aftermath of the horrific attack in Orlando. Sorrow, yes, and anger, frustration, fear, disbelief, shock – lots of other emotions, too. But, there is kindness abundant in the care of medical professionals treating people they do not know. Kindness in the strangers lined up to donate blood or a shoulder to rest on. Kindness in the prayers lifted up – rising like incense to our Heavenly Father.

If we took a moment to realize and appreciate all of the kindness that we experience from strangers, just that simple act of gratitude would make the world a calmer place. And if we became the stranger more often, upon whom others could depend, think what peace could prevail!  That dependence wouldn’t necessarily be forged from a terrible tragedy or monumental undertaking. It could be as “minute” as saying something more humane than, “How are you, fine, thanks” as we pick up our grocery bag and exit the store. Or, “Please, go ahead of me in the line. I can wait.”

Dependence implies trust, and in our world today, we are encouraged not to trust strangers (and sometimes not to even trust our family or friends). But we all depend on the kindness of strangers. We are all strangers, too. No cliche – just us.



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