Whatever happened to simple kindness? You know, being nice – living by the Golden Rule? We live in a world that is fast-paced, consumed with getting things done and never having enough time to do it all. We are self-absorbed, not because we are selfish, but because life is too busy. We can’t stop to think, smell the roses, or enjoy time to ourselves.
What does busyness have to do with kindness? It causes us to see the world through the perspective of having to get things done. It’s not that we are rude, we just have to keep moving. Driving is erratic as people cut each other off (and call other drivers “idiots”). Simple pleasantries have gone by the wayside. Politeness is replaced by a scant acknowledgement. People are surprised at a kind deed or warm word – like it is unusual. The question is how can we change things?
I personally have to consciously think about slowing down. Life is not about just crossing things off my “to-do” list, or making sure I am ready for the next day. It’s not about doing or accomplishing, but about being and relating. My greatest joy these days is spending time with my husband, grandchildren, and adult children. It is about listening to their concerns, or doing something to bring joy to them. Kindness is about people, and how I can make their day brighter/better. The Message version of the Bible says it best: “Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.” (Matthew 7:12)
Kindness is doing something to bless another, like making a meal for a sick friend, or sending a card to cheer someone up. It can be caring for children, so their parent can get recharged. It could be offering to help a coworker. It might be holding a door for a stranger. It could also be spending time with someone going through a hard time. One can find great joy in listening to another share their hurts/struggles/frustrations/fears, knowing they are releasing that tension in their own life.
Being kind isn’t hard, but it does take awareness, time, and effort. Can we all make a greater effort to show a little more kindness, and be a blessing to others?