March 26 • 05:12 PM

Random acts of kindness inspire

December 02, 2009
I have been given the blessing of such kindness over the past weeks from people I don't know very well, some I've never met personally and others I know simply because they read the paper.

These precious, honest people have given me gifts of words that feed the soul. I start realizing how wonderful such gifts are. The transformative power of words—especially words of gratitude, hope and love.

Amazing people with unbelievable insight and tender hearts walk the planet, though sometimes in the isolation of this modern lifestyle it's easy to forget.

The computer age has at once separated us and connected us. Though Ipods and laptops keep us centered around earpieces or a screen, they also provide an opportunity for far-reaching communication—connection of a different sort.

I want to concentrate on the kindness in the world, and do my part in remembering that being "kinder than necessary" is not always easy. But as the recipient of such unfiltered and natural kindness over the past few weeks, my determination to renew the inspiration is made stronger. Rather than succumb to the crummy stuff, it's better to "Be Kind Anyway."

I'm reminded through the words of Mother Teresa, which were sent to me a few years ago by my Aunt Teresa. Sent for a reason, taken like medicine and re-read like a prayer.

When I reprint the poem in this space back then, a number of readers respond with a 'thank you.' The timeless words speak volumes to many.

I reprint them now because my muse is in recovery. Years of rehab may be required, though I hope her resurrection will come sooner rather than later.

Maybe I'll try for my own reality tv show— 'Minolli's Mashed Up Muse' or something like that. Mount a camera at my kitchen table and watch as the kindred spirits, ancestors and true hearts materialize to mend the muse. The blank screen punctuated by ever growing pinpoints of light couldn't be any less interesting than most of the "reality" tv shows that have become so popular these days. Mine, however, may be more suited for the Twilight Zone...

Alas, I live in hope. That's what got me right here right now. Why not hope that simply being kind can and will transform the spirit and from there the universe—even if a reality tv show is out of the question?

I live in hope and so again I borrow from someone much wiser than I am this week; I repeat Mother Teresa's sage advice. It has become known as the "Anyway Poem."

Dr. Kent M. Keith originated the thoughts in a poem he called "The Paradoxical Commandments," published in 1968.

The association with Mother Teresa was made when she had an altered version printed above the doorway of her children's home in Calcutta.

It doesn't so much matter where the words come from. Making them real is what really matters. And that's something even me and my messed up muse can do:

•People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;

Forgive them anyway.

•If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;

Be kind anyway.

•If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;

Succeed anyway.

•If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;

Be honest and frank anyway.

•What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;

Build anyway.

•If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;

Be happy anyway.

•The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;

Do good anyway.

•Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you've got anyway.

•You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;

It was never between you and them anyway.

Isn't that the truth...

Email Catherine at

Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.
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