Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Privilege of Kindness

In this post: 3 stories of kindness, superficial expressions of love and porcupines

“Love is expressed in many recognizable ways: a smile, a wave, a kind comment, a compliment. Other expressions may be more subtle, such as showing interest in another’s activities, teaching a principle with kindness and patience, visiting one who is ill or homebound. These words and actions and many others can communicate love.” 

A friend once offered me a bowl of cantaloupe when I visited her house.  I was so grateful that she was willing to share with me that day not just cantaloupe but friendship.

Another time, a friend called and said let’s go to lunch for your birthday.  I was blessed to spend an hour in her company.  She and I talked about all the joys and sorrows of motherhood and laughed.  It was so nice to know that I’m not the only one in the trenches.

Once I listened as a friend told of her upcoming move and how she would have to give away a small rockable baby bed known as a bassinet.  I knew of a pregnant woman who needed all the things for a baby.  I recounted her story and soon I was coordinating the transfer of this baby bed to it’s new home.  It is a privilege to serve others.

Each of these stories is a small moment of loving kindness.  I have been lucky to know good people all through my life.  I have been touched by the small and simple ways that they have communicated their love to me.

I have also often felt isolated.  I have kept my loneliness to myself.  I have found few safe harbors for the real me.  Few have shown interest in my world.  Few have listened.

I think there are superficial and deeper expressions of love.

It is easy to smile and wave.  Lots of people offer this kind of love.

It is a little harder to be kind because kindness requires knowledge of the situation and a thoughtful response.

It is harder still to listen and pass no judgement.  Or to forgive when your patience has been stretched to the limit.

Then there is communicating love to a porcupine (someone who rebuffs your attempts).

I have been both kind and porcupine.

When loving kindness is offered it should be acknowledged and appreciated.  It was wrong of me to be a porcupine.  And in dealing with porcupines, never give up.  Love never fails.

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