Such a twee, old fashioned word.
Why is that when we are surprised by kindness, or by grace, or by someone refusing to be sucked into the vortex of offence/defence, it breaks us open?
What is it that makes plain old boring goodness so simultaneously stolid and transcendent?
To be good gets bad press. It conjures up image of pious pew polishers and middle England smugness. But goodness in action can frequently reduce me to tears.
It is easy to be ‘good’ in the hallowed cloister of a church, or under the scrutiny of people we might seek to impress. This is not the kind of offering Yahweh ever found acceptable (Amos 5, 21-24.) What is more difficult is to live out a life of love- which in these emotionally restrained islands is better understood as ‘goodness’. Although goodness is something else too… less about a passionate decision towards the other (whatever the motivation behind this passion) more like an instinctive skew towards an active kindness…
Defining goodness is not easy, but we all know it when we encounter it.
It is less important to label it in ourselves. Goodness is perhaps not an attainable goal for the pilgrim (but strangely, love might be.) Rather let us just be diligent in our search for goodness in others. We will always find it I think. Sometimes we will find a lot and then there is reason for song. And in doing this, I hope we may discover goodness by accident.
I have been pondering this (as is my wont) in poetry. I think I prefer this previous attempt, but here is today’s offering;
Smear of a tear
The diffident shuffle of an approaching shoe
The sound of breathing.
Choosing to stay here
In all this shit
Flecking this dark shadow
With morning manna
The pulse of your heartbeat
Taps at me like sonar