A Comedy With Kindness
Recently, I took a break from the hectic activity of the holidays, and took my wife to see the movie St. Vincent. The movie stars Bill Murray as Vincent. While there is a strong element of comedy to this movie, I think, after further reflection, the true message behind the storyline is the healing power of kindness.
A Life-Changing Event
Vincent begins the movie as a sad, angry, and lonely man. His wife has lost her memory to the point where she doesn’t even recognize him. There is apparently nothing that can be done to stop the progression of her condition.
Vincent turns to alcohol to help deaden his pain. He becomes increasingly isolated. His situation slowly deteriorates. Yet, he continues to love and treat his wife with kindness until the very end.
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see – Mark Twain
Vincent’s future and fortune begin to change as a result of an unlikely group of people. It isn’t until he suffers his own health crisis, however, that he is finally able to receive the kindness of others.
Illness Affects Relationships
When we experience tragedy or illness in our lives, a natural tendency, for many, is to be strong, circle the wagons, and go it along. In the process, we often find ourselves not only sick, but also isolated.
At the same time, friends and family often struggle with what to say, and how they can be truly helpful. Illness and tragedy affect not only individuals, they affect entire families and communities of friends.
The Healing Power of Kindness
Illness and tragedy are part of the human condition. Often, there is no “quick fix” for an illness or rational explanation for a tragedy. In this situations I’ve found, both personally and professionally, people respond with varying degrees to sympathy, empathy, and compassion. Nearly everyone, however, responds favorably to kindness.
When we experience the kindness of others in our own lives, it makes us feel good. One could argue that simple kindness is one of the most overlooked prescriptions in medicine.
They say art imitates life and life imitates art. By being attentive to the experience and needs of someone during their darkest hours, and responding with kindness, you may in turn find new life within yourself.
Acts of Kindness are Remembered
The best portion of a man’s life, his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love – William Wordsworth
The ability to give and receive kindness is an outward reflection of our inner Spirit. In life, we strive to be remembered for many things. At the end of the day, I think you can never go wrong with kindness.