“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.” (L.R. Knost)
Today, September 25, is the official publication date for my book, A Year of Living Kindly. I wouldn’t be writing those words if it weren’t for you. Really. And I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. And offer you cake.
When I started this blog in January 2015, my intention was to explore kindness in both scholarly and experiential ways, and—I hoped—become kinder as a result. I chose to blog, thinking it would keep me accountable. After all, if I had an audience for my intentions, it would be both noticeable and embarrassing if I abandoned my “year of living kindly” around the ides of March.
And because I have just a trace of OCD, I diligently posted a blog every Wednesday morning between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. I was both surprised and delighted to see that some people were reading it. And they wrote thoughtful comments. Sometimes they challenged me through their kind and wise reflections. We interacted. I was inspired to think more deeply, to examine my own assumptions, to ask “what if?” and “how about?”
That interaction made me a better blogger—also a better writer and thinker—and it also strengthened my resolve about kindness. I can honestly say this is the kindest community in all of social media. In nearly four years, I have not had one unkind or inappropriate comment. I had been warned that some nasty people were lurking, people who got their kicks from demeaning the ideas and opinions of others. But even on those occasions when I shared my most heartfelt political views, still no one was vicious or contemptuous in return. I confess to an occasional slight (very slight!) disappointment, for I counted on at least a couple of trolls to test my resolve to respond kindly to unkindness. But people were universally kind.
At the end of 2015, when my official “year of living kindly” concluded, it was many of you who urged me to take my ideas, observations, stories, and research and turn them into a book. One of you even enthusiastically offered to be my beta reader—a gift I accepted with awe and am grateful for every day.
So, here we are. This happened. On October 10, I will be having a book release party at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. For those of you who are close to Seattle, I hope you will come and share this evening that you helped bring about. There will be cake.
For those of you in far-flung locations, I hope you will hoist a glass in your honor and also indulge in a piece of your very favorite cake. For that particular piece of cake, there will be no calories. I have that on the best authority.
My hope for this book is that it will inspire people to claim the strength of their kindness and through their kind actions and the ripples that flow from them, the world will be changed. And you, my dear friends, made it happen.
Thank you beyond measure.
“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” (Henry James)