Post Thanksgiving Pondering


Yes I should start this with all the things I am thankful for but not today.  Today I want to reflect upon kindness.  What really is kindness and how did I come to know what it meant?

It isn’t what you think. It isn’t small simple Acts.  It is a way of life and comes to you silently in the night.  It comes from you when all that is around you is darkness.

People don’t bring you kindness like you were taught.  Oh no, don’t count on that for true kindness comes from you.  You awaken kindness in others.

When you ask my family what they remember of me as a child they will say how tiny I was, how I delighted in everything, and how kind I was.  Well did it stay with me as I grew up?  Did it come from me when I was competing with a school mate for the top spot in a highly coveted position?  Did it come from me when I lay devastated about a life event?  Did it come from me at the scene of my sons accident?  Did it come from me when I was told, “We have to let you go” from my employment?

I don’t recall stopping and say, I must be kind here, at any of those moments in time.  I can tell you that in those moments, I saw in their eyes a request for me to hold them, to give them permission to succeed, be forgiven, loved, and encouraged.  How could I have read what was in their eyes?  I read it because I have reflected those same needs in my eyes.  I have stood there naked and not received.  I have stood there and realized that I cannot ask of others what I, myself, am not willing to give.

I thank my beautiful wonderful stars that somehow I knew that kindness coupled with laughter would heal a broken heart.  It will encourage a lost soul.  It will stop a war.  

I wasn’t always kind.  When I began too realize that there is hurtfulness in the world, I wasn’t always willing to be kind to my competition or the person who was the cause of my consternation.  I will have to say that not being kind was something I had to learn.  I had to learn that sometimes people hurt you when you are kind to them.  I had to learn that sometimes when you are kind to someone they will still scream and hurt you.  

And then I had to learn that even if they are hurtful to you, kindness is the way to heal your pain and theirs.  I had to learn not to expect anything back when I was kind.  I had to learn that the stories and all the lessons taught to me were wrong.  I had to return to the innocence I knew as a child with the wisdom of my years.

And most importantly I had to listen only to my soul for my guidance and my solace.  I had to live my life from all my wounds, all my mistakes, and all my misunderstandings.  I embraced my soul’s wisdom and kindness and my soul returned me back to ME.  My soul showed me that the kindness that lay deep within me was strengthened by all my life experiences.  It was through those experiences that I could see, feel and understand the stories of everyone I met.  I could see it in the grocery clerk, the postal worker, my family and friends, my co-workers and everyone I passed in the street.  I could see it in me.  I could reach across the aisle to those I would leave behind in my job.  I could be kind to them as I said good-bye.  

When my son was killed I reached across the aisle to the ambulance drivers to thank them for transporting him gently to the morgue.  Watching them tear up and thank me for thanking them, something that they had never experienced, surprised me. I didn’t do this because I am so wonderful but because at that moment I finally realized how difficult their job must be transporting dear ones and that they too must hurt.  I did it because I knew they had been as gentle with him as I would have been.  It was my soul that showed me that in those difficult moments in our life a stranger is also impacted.  When the physician comes to tell the difficult news to a patient and their family, they are feeling the news also.  It is in those difficult moments, in those dark times, that true kindness springs forth from us.  If you take the time to really allow your soul to show you the light within your darkness, kindness will spring forth.  Kindness first given to you by opening to your soul and then from you it will spread out into the world.  

I now understand the saying my father would often recite, “You can catch more with honey”.  I thought he meant sweetness since of course honey is sweet.  No, he meant kindness.  You can draw to yourself all the things you so desperately want in your life with true kindness.  It is from the kindness you share with others that brings others willing to share their kindness.  

As I gathered my belongs on Wednesday from my office I had occupied for a year, I was interrupted by co-workers who stepped cautiously into my space.  Cautious because they did not know what to say or how to reach out to me.  I greeted each of them with a soft gentle smile that came from years of learning to be kind to myself.  And they sighed, their eyes tearing, and they courageously spoke 6 words, "I will miss your caring ways."  There was no bashing of the event or times to come, there was only a sharing of this moment in time where kindness needed to be expressed.  By my willingness to be vulnerable, honest, and kind they were given permission to reciprocate; each of us receiving a multitude of love and courage through a simple act of kindness, an act of acceptance.

Kindness is a simple act that we have so often forgotten. It is not something learned, only remembered.  It is a remembering that comes from loving yourself enough to truly care.  Today and all the days ahead spend time allowing your soul to show you the kindness that has been there for you all along.  Lying deep within you where only you have the key.