We have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken

soup kitchen chef

The heart knoweth

We have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken. Mauger all the selfishness that chills like east winds the world, the whole human family is bathed with an element of love like a fine ether. How many persons we meet in houses, whom we scarcely speak to, whom yet we honor, and who honor us! How many we see in the street, or sit with in church, whom, though silently, we warmly rejoice to be with! Read the language of these wandering eyebeams. The heart knoweth.

The effect of the indulgence of this human affection is a certain cordial exhilaration. In poetry and in common speech the emotions of benevolence and complacency which are felt towards others are likened to the material effects of fire; so swift, or much more swift, more active, more cheering, are these fine inward irradiations. From the highest degree of passionate love to the lowest degree of good will, they make the sweetness of life.

by Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882)
from Essays, Friendship (1841)
image – Vadim Lavrusik, taken at Broadway Community Inc. (soup kitchen)

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3 Responses to “We have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken”

  1. clarissa mcfairy Says:

    I just love this man and his thought processes. “Read the language of these wandering eyebeams” indeed. I think Ralph Waldo Emerson has captured so much in this short passage. It is beautiful. Thank you.

  2. clarissa mcfairy Says:

    O, and I forget to mention the wonderful image you chose to accompany it. This woman has such a communicative presence. I don’t know her, but I look into her eyes and she speaks to me more than words ever could. Salutations to Vadim Lavrusik.

  3. E. A. Able Says:

    Flickr is such a great place to wander through. At the moment when I chose search terms, my visceral response to “kindness” was “soup.” She’s just right.

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