As we enter 2014, we embark upon positive and uplifting New Year’s resolutions often involving long term ambitions, exercise regimes, and cutting out bad habits. This is all good stuff of course, but I would like to bring to your attention the below poem by William Wordsworth which upon reading, makes us step away from the desire to plan ahead, to achieve big ambitions, and instead allows us to focus on the fact that we have the power to create something positive everyday, not merely through grand achievements, but through something very simple, so simple we may sometimes forget how important it is in our lives. That simple thing is kindness.
In Among All Lovely Things My Love Had Been, Wordsworth tells a touching story of a small act of kindness to a loved one. The poem begins with the speaker thinking about a loved one, and remembering the finer details he knows about her “but she had never seen A glow-worm, never one, and this I knew.” When the opportunity arises, he acts upon the small yet important details he knows about her, and carefully brings a glow worm to her garden so that she can see one for the first time. This small act of kindness produces a beautiful lasting image, “I led my Lucy to the spot, “Look here,” Oh! joy it was for her, and joy for me!” We are left with the description of a moment defined by joy.
This lasting image got me thinking about the importance of kindness, the unique effect it can have on individuals and how it creates something positive for both the giver of kindness and the receiver of kindness. Kindness has the power to create a positive, unique moment, it provides opportunity to display care for others, it affirms relationships, it boosts self-esteem on both parts and the list does, I’m sure go on.
Evidently, to recognise the importance of kindness as Wordsworth does below, and to take the opportunity to act on kindness, whether by posting a card to remind somebody you’re thinking of them, or to cook dinner for a friend when they’ve had a bad day holds a lot of positive value, and it is for more of these small yet powerful moments of joy that are created through kindness that I wish to strive for in the New Year.
Among All Lovely Things My Love Had Been
AMONG all lovely things my Love had been;
Had noted well the stars, all flowers that grew
About her home; but she had never seen
A glow-worm, never one, and this I knew.
While riding near her home one stormy night
A single glow-worm did I chance to espy;
I gave a fervent welcome to the sight,
And from my horse I leapt; great joy had I.
Upon a leaf the glow-worm did I lay,
To bear it with me through the stormy night:
And, as before, it shone without dismay;
Albeit putting forth a fainter light.
When to the dwelling of my Love I came,
I went into the orchard quietly;
And left the glow-worm, blessing it by name,
Laid safely by itself, beneath a tree.
The whole next day, I hoped, and hoped with fear;
At night the glow-worm shone beneath the tree;
I led my Lucy to the spot, “Look here,”
Oh! joy it was for her, and joy for me!