the great intelligence of kindness
mazzy has been busy with her high school musical.
she’s been spending nights at rehearsal, putting together costume ideas and driving to the performing center right from school with friends who have cars.
driving in a friend’s car. walking together out of the school to the parking lot and dropping her purple backpack onto the floor of a friend’s car. sitting in the passenger side and feeling the wind by the lake on her face in a friend’s car.
she’s loved being a part of it.
when they get there, everyone says, “hi mazzy!” with hugs and smiles. she’s hanging around backstage waiting for her cue while girls in dresses with crinoline fly by and boys in tuxedos quick change into argyle sweaters.
we came to opening night and there she was on the actual stage for all of eight minutes in a 2 1/2 hour show.
it was hard not to feel disappointed.
we watched her and then she was gone until the final number where she was buried behind much taller teenagers with many hours of singing and dancing logged.
we waited for mazzy to come and receive her admirers and her flowers. when she saw our little group her smile was bigger than her, bigger than the lobby. any and all disappointment was dwarfed by her joy.
“you came! i can’t believe you all came!”
there is a singer who stole the show. her voice in the mouth of a senior in high school makes you wonder what the future has in store. i’m a little star struck when she comes out later. the wig is gone, the makeup is off. we tell her how much we enjoyed her performance, but she hardly hears the praise. she only has eyes for mazzy.
“mazzy! you were amazing tonight!”
i watch her hug mazzy and i know that she means every word.
the star and the girl whose feet barely touched the stage.
kindness is its own form of intelligence.
it is the sort that you can’t test for. it will only be experienced. kindness can’t be compared to last years scores so it sounds unimportant, insignificant. but tonight seeing the humility of this talented singer telling my daughter how wonderful she was tonight, i know there is something better than stage time.
and mazzy knows it, too. she’s known it all along. she’s had to learn it in ways most of us never have to.
there is vulnerability in kindness that sets things free, that loosens the strangling cords of the expectations of this cut throat world, there is genius there.
“of course we came mazzy!”
where else would we be?
you child are the great heart revealer. the state of a human being’s heart is plainly visible around you. who embraces you? who avoids you?
i have both failed and passed this test of yours, thankfully it’s not offered yearly, but daily – and so here i sit with my sharpened number two ready to learn what kindness means again today.