5 | Kindness

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” ― Plato
“When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.” – AJ

 

Part II.

 

What do you think of that?
If you can choose one character in a partner, what would you choose?
Having sat in several of these circles, ‘funny,’ ‘smart,’ and ‘pretty’ may very well be the top three. There is the occasionally ‘driven,’ ‘be musical,’ or ‘cares for kids.’

But how about Kindness?
Over the years, kindness has grown to be a more and more attractive characteristic to me.
I don’t mean being nice. Being nice seems to be a temporary default. Something between strangers. Almost like we ran out of descriptions and threw a word in there.
(E.g. We are ruled by a kind king v.s. We are ruled by a nice king — What is ‘nice?’)

But kindness is borne out of time and trials. It is a choice demonstrated by action:
It is having power and not abusing it (elements of mercy).
It is having strength but allowing another to win (elements of humility).
It is having knowledge but holding your tongue until appropriate (self-control).
It is seeing those who are not immediately loveable or who are in need, and extending a hand (insight, action).
It is serving, even when it is not convenient (sacrifice).
It is forgiveness, time and again (forgiveness, mercy).
It is acting in love when you may not receive the same in return (love).

Do you now see why kindness is so attractive?

But before we seek for this in another, it is not better to develop this fruit of the spirit in our own life?

Kindness is also what we are called to possess:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

If there are no rewards. If no one on earth sees your actions (no photos, no ‘likes’).
Just you, and a choice.

Will you act in kindness?

(Examine your hearts. When do we act and speak out of genuineness?
Can we be consistent no matter who the audience?
Don’t mistaken ‘likes’ for love.
There is no value there.
It is already forgotten.
But long for Heaven.
Don on kindness.)

 

Interim 4 -Tread lightly.

contest-trees
Pines, not Poplars (2016. Hwy 26)

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
| W.B.Yeats

On the path to knowledge.
To understand, and not to fear.

Eyes for sight
And feet to travel.

But the mind is a wider world.
Yet wander as we may, the heart is North.

The arrow, the anchor.
The heart draws us home.

Yes, friends.
Guard it with care.

[unfinished.]

Some kind of comfort.

This morning.
I never know what to say — every word seems too light and too heavy.
Too much and not enough.

Nothing is right.

I write for the memory.
(Who is this addressed to? I can only write for those who remain.
You no longer walk this winding path with us– mmm…all words seem harsh.)

Memories.
Those who remain and I will sit silently.

I will wonder what they are thinking.
But me, I will think of cookies and chocolates.
Climbing a tree in the fall.
Tobogganing down a hill in snow.

I will think of Sunday mornings. Of the full armor of God.
Of a slippery slope.

Of health care advice and charting notes.

Of cards of lavender and rabbits.

Of the times I didn’t say hello (or did you leave early, too? What do you say to, ‘How are you?’).

 

Our time is not guaranteed. Every meeting may be our last.
Your memory will continue to teach me.

Yes, I think that was what I was going to say…

 

Interim No.3 |Reasons Inexplicable

Four years, and naught.
But at our core, we know that cannot be true.
(I fear anything I add will only take away.)

The rational self agrees with you here:
“There are moments, most unexpectedly, when something inside me tries to assure me that I don’t really mind so much, not so very much, after all. Love is not the whole of a man’s life. I was happy before…”

 

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And the emotional self here:
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me.
I dread the moments when the house is empty…Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once. And that seeming was as strong as this. What can this mean?”

And with grace and time, I hope to arrive here, too:
“Something quite unexpected has happened. It came this morning early. For various reasons, not in themselves at all mysterious, my heart was lighter than it had been for many weeks.
Looking back, I see that only a very little time ago I was greatly concerned about my memory and how false it might become. For some reason – the merciful good sense of God is the only one I can think of – I have stopped bothering about that.” [CSL]


“For the true consolations of religion are not rosy and cozy, but comforting in the true meaning of that  word: com-fort: with strength. Strength to go on living, and to trust that whatever Joy needs, or anyone we love who has died needs, is being taken care of by that Love which began it all.

In the end, what shines through the last pages of his journal of grief is an affirmation of love, his love for Joy and hers for him, and that love is in the context of God’ s love.

No easy or sentimental comforts are offered, but the ultimate purpose of God’s love for all of us human creatures is love. Reading A Grief Observed is to share not only in C. S. Lewis’s grief but in his understanding of love, and that is richness indeed.” [MLE]