The little kindness

She goes through the worst without ever losing faith in anyone. In the darkness of violence, of hatred, she knows how to rekindle tiny lights whose embers, we believe, were extinguished. Above the abyss, she dances with the modesty of those who have experienced vertigo. She makes herself a gift when we no longer expect anything or anyone. When the most basic desire of others is neglected. She makes herself a gift when so little is refused to those who are abandoned. She watches with passion the chasms of lack and injustice that she knows she cannot come to satiate alone, but that with a stubborn love she fills with nothing. It is the sweetest and most discreet of virtues. She is often ridiculed. She gets smaller still among the smallest among us, and we end up not seeing her anymore.

I remember that an old priest said of her that she is an insurrection. This rebellious and invisible girl turns her anger into gift. Its elegance is its lightness. Its name: “the little kindness”. What remains when we remain deaf and blind to the signs of the times? When institutions and the common world, morality, come undone, when violence is unleashed and with it incomprehension, selfishness and hatred? It’s her. Paul Ricoeur, during a seminar, reminded us of this sentence by Emmanuel Levinas: “The idea of ​​goodness is what remains when all institutions have collapsed. When there is nothing left other than the humanity of the other human, then, in this absence of all morality, there is “little goodness”. »

The philosopher invoked the miracle of isolated acts, both minor and extraordinary, even when human and moral values ​​had disappeared: an unexpected gift made to an invisible person in general material and moral distress. One beyond the collapse. One below hatred or indifference. She only knows how to do that: give the little she can give. These are the weak spirits, the « beggars of the spirit », who defend it and who work to ensure that it is perpetuated from one being to another. So fragile before the power of evil that she prefers to stand aside, away from ideologies, systems, thoughts, organizations. It is only free.

In literature, it has its heroes: Don Quixote, Jean Valjean, Monsieur Pickwick and Dostoevsky’s Idiot, marginal characters, originals or pariahs, whose loneliness is paradoxically the sign of their intense compassion. They seem without morals or benchmarks, have an unusual behavior that makes them look crazy in the eyes of others. How does their madness manifest itself? They show themselves to be benevolent and infinitely attentive to their fellow men, trying to make love, unconditional forgiveness and peace triumph. They then face the cruelty of the world, because they become signs of contradiction for the society in which they live. But the small kindness holds its own. She is despised for bearing witness to the knowledge and love of others. We make fun of it, we lecture it, we ridicule it in order to watch over the worst of ourselves without ever abandoning ourselves. The little kindness holds on. We prefer to believe his fights illusory. She goes on an adventure. They say she’s crazy, to be interned. It joins the craziest as well as the most unfortunate. Whoever you are, whatever you’ve done, she said, you’re so close to me.

This is why her mad and modest love leads her to love her enemies, not as enemies, but as human beings. Its sweetness is the ultimate refuge of our crazy unconsciousness. If it is a Christian value, it declares with Augustine: “You must consider every man your neighbor, even beforewhether he is a Christian » (Narrations in Psalmos XXV, II, 2).


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