This morning a previous “memory” from the year past was presented to me on my Facebook wall. A red baseball cap with the message “Make America Kind Again” scrawled across its crown. As I attempted to re-share it and put my feelings into words, I touched the wrong key and it disappeared. I hope this was a coincidence of bad keyboarding and not something ominous.
As the year 2016 ends and 2017 begins it doesn’t require a quantum physicist to realize kindness has been in short supply. Kindness is not something that JUST happens or something we should take for granted. Kindness can’t be enacted by our leaders, a bill debated in the various “hallowed” halls of government until it is passed into law. Kindness is a virtue that must be passed forward by “we the individuals.” Kindness is also a virtue that many of us, me included, simply give lip service to as our actions show anything but kindness. Somehow it is as if kindness and compassion have become traits of weakness instead of the traits of strength I continue to read about in the Bible…especially during this time of year. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” has been changed by some of the more paranoid of us to “Do unto others before they CAN STICK IT to you”
There is an ODD thing about kindness…it doesn’t have to cost anything and yet it can be priceless. A smile, a nod of the head, opening a door for someone, waving at someone or just acknowledging the fact someone is alive dumps copious amounts of naturally occurring opioids into our blood stream.
Another ODD thing about kindness…it is the height of selfish motivation. Selfish? Yes, selfish. Why do we do something kind for someone? IT MAKES US FEEL GOOD therefore IT IS a selfish motivation…a wonderfully human selfish motivation which explains why “it is better to give than to receive.”
My best friend and I walk together one day a week. Exactly seven point one miles beginning exactly at five thirty in the morning. Why exactly seven point one miles at exactly five thirty in the morning? Because it’s easier to deal with my own OCD tendencies than dealing with his. It also explains why we walk only once a week. We are former teachers and coaches and a lot of our conversation is about kids and athletics but much of it is about our religious beliefs. Mike, the traditional Baptist who has rediscovered his way, and Don, the nonconformist follower of Christ with Buddhist leanings. We have some interesting conversations as dawn breaks across our landscape.
After discussing my concerns about the state of kindness, Mike sent me a devotional he had studied entitled “Constant Kindness.” He had circled “In a world in which love has grown cold, a kindness that comes from the heart of God is one of the most helpful and healing things we can offer to others.” I would just add the love we can offer from our own hearts.
With all of the selfishness and kindness I can muster, “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays” to all along with the hope that each of you will pass it forward, not only for this season but for 2017 as well. May your God Bless.