Holiness grows fast where there is kindness. I have never heard of kind souls going astray. The world is lost for want of sweetness and kindness. –St. Mother Teresa
“When you leave your stuff on the floor outside the shower like that, I lose the spa vibe I was hoping for when we built this master bath, Shell.”
Those words, spoken to me a while back, were a gently filed (but valid) complaint being lodged against yours truly. I still recall that particular fraternal correction by my husband because of the humor and kindness with which it was spoken. It made me roll my eyes, but I laughed. I do fail still, but I have made a concerted effort to keep that particular area relatively tidy since then. Honestly, it’s because he was candid, but respectful and funny.
Here’s my point. It takes less effort to grumble than it does to be thoughtful in how we speak to others in our path. We honestly have zip for a clue what most folks are up against today. Do you know what’s powerful? A sense of humor is compelling and persuasive, of which well-intentioned smartassery is my personal favorite variety. Basic compassion and kindness are also pretty magical.
Days we encounter might be difficult, even tragic. There might be sad anniversaries, grief, health challenges…or a million other mountains you’re climbing. Still, let’s work on not being a thorn in someone’s side, huh? The world is so freaking hard and full of insanity. You can choose to be positive even if you don’t love the day, because I truly believe there’s something good in each one of them if you keep your heart and your eyes open. You are important to more people than you know. It’s tough to remember that sometimes, but it’s true.
Here’s what else. It’s better than okay to apologize when we screw it up. I love this quote by Kelly Hayes who said, “There’s no shame in admitting you were previously speaking from a less informed place.” A to the MEN, Kelly!
I’m mostly running on lattes and Jesus most days. My hair isn’t really long enough for the ponytail I constantly shove out the back of my baseball cap. There are 55 boys on the GC tennis team, and I’m a team mom just trying to keep them fed and hitting tennis balls that still bounce. My father-in-law passed away 3 months ago, we’re nowhere near closing out the estate, and his son to whom I’m married has had zero chance to properly grieve yet given the endless mayhem that tends to befall anyone to whom the word “executor” applies in these matters. Our lives are blessed in many ways, but I could keep adding to that list of stressors for a while yet if I chose to continue on like this in today’s post. We all have our hands full. A whole spectrum of emotions cover us up each day. It’s okay to feel all those emotions. That’s what it means to live life. None of us has a perfect one. You are who you are because of your life and experiences. And you, my friend, are flipping awesome. You’ve trudged through thunderstorms people can’t see. You’re still here, and you are okay. God sees. You are not alone. You are loved.
Who are you really?? Ask yourself if you are living authentically, because that’s the whole ballgame. Let me tell you who I am. I’m the kind of girl who wears my heart on my sleeve. I burn too hot, and I cry too easily. I laugh so hard that I can’t breathe and tears fall down my cheeks. I’m menopausal and my hair is falling out, so I try to hide it. I love hard and am overly dramatic. I don’t have an inside voice and patience isn’t my virtue. “Calm down” doesn’t work at all with me. I’m obsessed with leggings that have pockets and I hate story toppers, being late and diet Pepsi. Most importantly, though, I believe it’s important to be honest and forthcoming, but considerate in the way we treat others. When I fail at that last part, I am hard on me. These things are who I am today. If I was pretending to be someone else, I couldn’t possibly have what it takes to do the work God calls me to do today, and neither could you. Today, He asked me to remind a few folks about the power of kindness. I kind of wasn’t in the mood to type things this afternoon, but He asks and so I answer. Maybe someone needs to hear something in this ramble? That’s not my business, I suppose. That’s up to the Lord.
The thing about kindness is that to the many people who feel the cruelness of the world overwhelming them, your little gift often has an impact you might never realize. Do the obvious. Be kind to your family, friends, and the total strangers in your day. Show grace even when others are casting stones. Be a person who chooses to love. If you have something legitimate to correct, go with Tom’s tidy bathroom method and do it with a smile.
Say nice things to each other. Thank the darn barista, because she’s probably spent 8 hours busting her rear. Offer to pray with or for someone. Send a funny meme. Hold the door. Tip too much. Don’t look aways when someone is hurting. Look him in the eye and tell him he is not alone. Empathy is powerful!! HOLD EACH OTHER UP.
Only people who are dissatisfied with themselves are unkind to those around them. If you notice that’s you, ask for the grace to turn it around starting…right now. Ask for a heart like Jesus. Some days are so hard we have to brace for impact. It’s just one day. Tomorrow is a new one, full to the brim with all the grace and mercy you can imagine. We are going to make it. It’s easier when we lean on Jesus and work together.
You don’t have to be a superhero to save the day. For the right person, your intentional kindness can change everything. People like that make the world beautiful.
I’m going to close by sharing a prayer that was recently shared with me by a holy, affirming, and hilarious friend named Deanne. It’s my new favorite way to end the day. I invite you to try it before you close your eyes tonight!
PLEA FOR THE NIGHT (Ignacio Larranaga)
My Father, now that the voices have hushed and that cries have ceased, my soul rises to you to say: I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you with all my might. Glory to you, Lord.
I commit into your hands the fatigue of the battle, the joys and the disappointment of this day which has ended. If my nerves betrayed me, if self-centered impulses had the best of me, if I allowed resentment or melancholy to invade me, forgive me, Lord. Have mercy on me.
If I have been unfaithful, if my mouth spoke idle words, if I was a thorn for someone, forgive me, Lord. I do not want to fall asleep without feeling in my soul the safety of your mercy, Lord, sweet and unbinding. I give you thanks, my Father, for you were the refreshing shadow that shielded me all through the day. I give you thanks because all along these hours you surrounded me– invisible and affectionate– you watched over me like a mother.
Lord, all around me is silent and calm. Send the angel of peace over this house. Relax my nerves, appease my spirit, set my mind at rest, flood my being with silence and serenity. Watch over me, beloved Father, when I surrender to sleep, confident as a child happily sleeps in your arms. In your name, Lord, I will rest peacefully.