We Remember Kindness
and we tend to remember when people are unkind too . . .
Do you ever just randomly dream about several people at once? I met this new day just realizing (again) that I’ve known a lot of really quality people!
We might not live close or stay in touch but I have been blessed with some seriously beautiful friendships through the years. And I do mean years! There are folks that I literally think of randomly during the week and just remembering them lifts my spirits, even if I haven’t thought about them in forever. If I had to say there was a common denominator it would be kindness. I just seem to be drawn to (and forever hold a special place in my heart) for people who I believe to be kind. And I think that is true for many people.
Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Prov. 3:3
This is sometimes the case even if I’m just observing someone and may not necessarily be a recipient of their kindness first hand. When I think of or remember someone as a kind person it can sometimes be a series of seemingly random acts, coupled with something as simple as a look of concern (that is not a social act). It can be an unconscious wave of compassion crossing their face when hearing some news or seeing some grief.
These are the people that come up casually in conversation and you just can’t help but interject, “That’s somebody I hadn’t thought about in awhile; what a nice person!” I recently had two old friends drive out to the new house for lunch. And this is exactly the interjection that came up several times over that meal and later with my sister when I told her about the visit.
Sometimes kindness is apparent because of something overlooked – when something seemed tasty fodder for a round of gossip but just sizzled to a cold dead stop instead because of the kindness of one or more people. In other instances it was the way a hurt or a slight was extremely downplayed and the one who did the hurting was instead complimented or spoken (undeservedly) well of.
Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. – Col 4:6
But usually it is just a general overall demeanor, a spirit of kindness about them if you will. Something that is not “put on” but that emanates from within. I had people be extremely kind and compassionate toward me even when they were saying “No” to what I thought I wanted or needed (and that refusal turned out to be kinder than allowing what I asked for). People have been kind when they 100 percent disagreed with me (or even when I was dead wrong). They’ve been kind when they’ve pointed out blind spots in my life that needed changing.
And then I’ve had people who have just been unkind, for no apparent reason at all. People who could have included me (or others) but didn’t. Who could have expressed gratitude but chose not to. Who could have responded appropriately….you get the picture. These are the people I hope to remember only on a very good day 🙂 Because no matter how strong we are emotionally, the old adage about “sticks and stones” is not true and being on the receiving end of unkindness is never fun.
In the batch of people I was thinking about this morning was a young man I knew with a special needs family member and how this particular gem of a person just responded to the constant needs (that were heavily placed on him as a teenager) with such an abundant amount of grace, patience, and self-sacrifice. I know from experience that it’s a lot easier to be kind to strangers and acquaintances. Some of the hardest people to show kindness to are those in our family or who we live and work with every day. It is difficult to be kind when the same situation keeps repeating itself like Groundhog Day. When the novelty has worn off. When you’re over it. So this particular situation was truly beautiful to watch. And all these years later, it is still beautiful to remember.
I can recall like it was yesterday people who were kind to me even when I did not recognize or appreciate it at the time. I’m talking from as early as kindergarten. And I realize I have been the recipient of a lot of kindness in my lifetime, even when I myself was not kind.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Col. 3:12
A very kind and gentle (through and through) person told me, “You never regret being kind.” At the time I was angry about some slight this person was overlooking and was taking up an offense, thinking I was protecting him. But I was instead being taught one of life’s most important lessons in one of the most tangible ways – by example. And I’ve found that to be true so many times over. Not just when I chose to be kind and later found out circumstances that made me so glad I did. But also when I wasn’t kind and my words or actions replayed themselves over and over again in my future.
Today I am grateful for these many people that God has allowed in my life to teach me kindness through example, and for the ways He brings them to mind so that their kindness keeps giving. And I’m aiming to (while always speaking the truth) be more kind myself in both what I say and what I do.
How about you? Who has set an example of kindness for you? And what kindness are you able to show someone today?