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Kindness has power in the world

A drawing 'The Power of Kindness,' by Coralee Popp, is part of the exhibit at Art Adventure Gallery in Madras.A drawing of two hands holding an egg by Madras artist Coralee Popp is part of the artwork related to Community Read author Bob Welch’s book “American Nightingale.”

In the story, World War II Army nurse Frances Slanger senses a medical officer’s feeling of hopelessness on the bloody front lines. Knowing he loves finding farm-fresh chicken eggs, because, to him, they symbolize something normal and undamaged by war, she quietly slips up to him and hands him an egg, still warm from the hen.

The drawing is titled “The Power of Kindness,” and in an accompanying statement, Popp tells how that passage in the book affected her.

“After reading this passage, I closed my eyes, laid the book on my lap and felt the tears find their way down my cheeks. I felt myself sharing that dark space with Michalove (the captain), flooded with memories of the despair wrought by war on my own life.” (Popp's husband was listed as missing in action during the Vietnam War).

“But then, as if by a miracle, Francis Slanger’s simple act of kindness exemplifies the gift that can be found in suffering, which is to connect us to others who have suffered in similar ways,” she said.

“Too often, we under estimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life or a situation around,” Popp continued.

“What lives on of Francis even today, through the power of Bob Welch’s words, and what the arts have brought to my life is the knowledge that while whatever pain we are experiencing is unique to us, it helps to remember that all human beings share the capacity for joy and suffering,” she said.

“Having contact with someone else who is also having a difficult time and offering them simple kindness can be a great antidote to our own suffering. We are at all times thinking, speaking and acting out of love or out of fear. They cannot coexist,” Popp said.




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