I'd never read Truman Capote. It's hard to have grown up in the twentieth century and not have come across and read anything by him. But just the other day I picked up the Modern Classics book, A Christmas Memory, One Christmas, and The Thanksgiving Visitor, largely because I noticed it on a shelf in my house. He was an amazing writer.
In the story about Thanksgiving, the narrator is an eight year old boy who has been relentlessly and cruelly bulled by a twelve year old boy in his class, a young man who has failed grades, and comes from a background of failure. Our narrator, Buddy, lives with some older relatives, several sisters and a brother, in Alabama, and is closest with a lady in her sixties, Miss Sook, he calls her, who is in many ways like a child. Her simplicity causes her to favor the company of young children. But it also helps her to see deep truths that normal people would miss. This comes across in all three stories, and struck me deeply as I read.
Because of an act of kindness she does for Buddy's tormentor, the sort of favor he's never received from anyone, apparently, he changes. He becomes a better person, in contradiction to all his previous behavior. The story reminds us that almost anyone can be redeemed, or transformed. But it rarely happens apart from an act of love and kindness.
We tend to think in the opposite way, that bad people deserve bad consequences. But sometimes, a small act of acceptance, and respect, and care, can change a heart. The author Truman Capote suffered much in his life. And because of that, he has some lessons to pass on to the rest of us. Redemption is possible. Change can happen. But if it's radical enough, it has to be helped along by acts of love, which themselves are radical enough to make it happen.
Our lesson is simple. It's important to be able to rise above things, and even act in love toward someone who seems not to deserve it. That way, you just might help make something radically good happen.