The Way of Kindness

Orbis Book Spotlight

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[googlefont font=“Cormorant Infant” fontsize=”20″]preview by Michael Leach[/googlefont]

The Way of Kindness is the second in a series of writings on virtues that enrich and transform us. The first was The Way of Gratitude. To come in spring 2019 is The Way of Forgiveness.

Our bet is that gratitude, kindness and forgiveness are virtues you value most. The idea behind our series is to collect for you inspiring stories from writers you love and writers you will love to meet who bring home how powerful these virtues are in bringing you grace, joy and peace.

The Way of Kindness features more than 40 essays, stories, poems and meditations on the rewards of being kind from Anne Lamott, Frederick Buechner, James Martin, Joyce Rupp, George Saunders, Richard Rohr, Steve Hartman, Sharon Salzberg, Jack Kornfield, Kerry Weber, Jessica Powers, Pope Francis and a diverse cast of other writers. You could do worse than invite any of these folk to your house to talk about books, or anything at all.

The Way of Kindness also intersperses illuminating quotes from the likes of Pope Francis, Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, Fred Rogers, Winnie the Pooh, Annie Lennox, Kurt Vonnegut, former President Barak Obama and others who inspire us to give and receive kindness with grace and joy. Here’s a pithy quickie from Anonymous: “If speaking kindly to plants helps them grow, imagine what speaking kindly to humans can do.” Hey, maybe you’d like to invite Anonymous over to the party too!
My personal favorite story is a recollection by Anne Lamott on how acts of kindness by others have lifted her up from dark spaces. It’s called “Destination Kindness,” and in it Anne talks about two trips she took, one to a chic boutique to buy a sweater and the other to Hiroshima. The kindness of a friend she phones while having a panic attack at the store and the kindness of strangers in Hiroshima reveal how our lives are blessed by saving moments of kindness, large and small, when we most need them and least expect them.

Maryknoll Father James Kroeger offers a practical essay on “The Ten Commandments of Kindness.” Number five is “Practice deliberate kindness.” Father Kroeger writes about random acts of kindness that involve ordinary aspects of life: opening a door for an elderly person, helping a blind person off the bus, visiting a friend suffering from Alzheimer’s, thanking the grocery clerk for her kind service, offering a cold drink to the garbage collector on a hot day. Such opportunities present themselves to us all the time. The way of kindness leads to the same holy destination as the way of gratitude. You can’t have one without the other.

Imagine a world without these virtues. Sometimes it seems like it’s getting that way, doesn’t it? But you know better. And you do better.

The purpose of The Way of Kindness, and its companion volume The Way of Gratitude, is to reassure you that you are on the right track by having made these virtues a priority in your life, to let you see that you are in wonderful company, and to be grateful that, no matter the noise you hear on TV, life is good.

To find more information on the book, or to purchase, please visit OrbisBooks.com

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About the author

Michael Leach

Michael Leach is publisher emeritus of Orbis Books, the publishing arm of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.