It’s not news; as far as history traces our interactions, we humans have had troubles with one another. We get ourselves tied in knots worrying about the latest news: a new terrorist group here, a gang murder there, racist violence and religious discord– just about everywhere. So-called civilized or savage, we are humans, and we have too often let our worst sides get the best of us.
I heard once that for every negative statement we give to another, that person needs at least ten positives to recover! I don’t know how much scientific research went into that number, but I do know this:
We flourish in an atmosphere of kindness.
Kindness is more than holding your breath while you give the homeless man a quarter. It is more than holding your tongue when you want to correct your coworker’s frequent mistakes. It’s even more than a side-hug and a cheek-kiss greeting when you’d rather not be there at all.
Kindness comes from recognizing what is alike, or kin, between us.
Kindness happens when we feel the sort of kinship with another that we do with our children as they stumble through toddler-hood, spilling juice on the carpet, creating a masterpiece with crayons on the wall, or toilet paper installations across the bathroom floor.
Kindness happens when we realize our errancy.
Kindness begins when we realize we were treated with kindness when a harsher sentence would have been just.
Kindness flows when we come to the place of accepting that we cannot change everyone else; that it’s all we can manage to change ourselves.
Kindness swells when we realize those we formerly eschewed actually had something to offer us.
Kindness flourishes when we find time in our days to care for ourselves, for others and even for the piece of the planet where we dwell.
An old friend once told me that he always tries to leave each place he goes a little better than when he enters. Sometimes that’s as simple as picking up a piece of toilet paper that someone else left on the public bathroom floor. That’s kindness. It doesn’t need to be noticed, commended or lauded. It is kind because it is kin; kin with creation, kin with all.
Are you akin to kindness?
KINDNESS song, written by Brian McLaren
Christ has no body here but ours
No hands no feet here, on earth but ours
Ours the eyes through which he looks
On this world with kindness
Ours are the hands through which he works
Ours are the feet on which he moves
Ours the voices through which he speaks
To this world with kindness
Through our touch, our smile, our listening ear
Embodied in us, Jesus is living here
Let us go now—enspirited
Into this world with kindness.
Today’s inspiration thanks to:
Thanks for your kindness,
©Joan T. Warren