Kindness Speaks

I find myself alone, a rarity, and yet my thoughts remain with others. Alway, always trying to get it right, just how to be what I’m needed to be in all the relationships through which I am joined to others. Love is a living entity, undisturbed by physical presence or absence. As I scrubbed the breakfast dishes in the kitchen sink and cleaned the hardwoods in the living room, those I love hovered in thought. I wondered how to be the kindness needed to mend what is broken, to encourage what is resistant, to address what is difficult, and to bridge over to what seems far away. Wow…much to do with the time in our days. I’ve come to see service as the kindness that words can’t reach. If someone can’t hear my words, maybe they can see my care, the little things done to make the days gentler… Always measuring by my own experience as it is all that I know, yet recognizing the limits this imposes, I struggle. We’ve (all) learned some of the same things, but much of what is learned is unique to each of us leaving a gap between my understanding and yours. Because of this, I remind myself to account for what I don’t know and for us all, that is much. When I read the greatest commandments, to love God above all and to love others as ourselves, I ponder…Then I decide, that was enough, an all-consuming appointment that would take every ounce of effort of every kind imaginable and would teach us what we most need to know. Love cannot be demonstrated apart from kindness. Because of this, my desire to practice kindness grows deeper with the passing of every day. Kind words, kind deeds, kind thoughts, kind feelings, they all matter and make a difference. I can think of no greater failure than to fail to touch the world with kindness when given the opportunity. Opportunities for kindness present themselves multiple times each day. Some of the most poignant are these: Kindness is the silence when others make fun; it is a compliment to a stranger; a warm meal to the hungry; acknowledgement with “hello” to a homeless person to whom most refuse to speak; a smile to a neglected child; inclusion of those who are typically left out; patience with those who are difficult and frenzied; friendliness to those who are shy; trustworthiness for those who have been betrayed. All of these are kindnesses most needed in this great big world of hurt. No matter who we are or where we are, we can practice kindness and make a difference that matters, one life at a time.

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