I’d like to hop off this planet, please. It’s spinning a little too fast for me right now and I’ve decided that it’s all just a little upside down. I’m tumbling. I’m reaching for the structures that used to hold and they are changing from steel pillars to reeds in the wind right in my very hands. And yet, there is entirely too much that is overwhelmingly lovely to leave now. So I’ll plant my feet. I’ll show up a little more where I can and pass the baton to others who can go when I cannot. What does it take to “Show up a little more?” Just be kind. It’s that simple.
Really. JUST. BE. KIND.
Even if your “Vocabulistics ain’t that good,” you can use those three words, exclusively in that order.
Maybe they haven’t heard, “just be kind?”
Do you ever feel like as you go about your day, you just encounter people, one after another, who seem to have never heard our new little motto? It’s so simple. It’s so completely revolutionary. It’s the underground counterculture of nice. It’s the most obvious, constant truth. It’s entirely obscure.
It’s totally possible they haven’t heard it. It’s completely impossible they haven’t heard it.
It’s not always comfortable to be kind
Take the white woman and the laundromat who saw herself in me and thought I’d find her two racists slings hilarious, only to find out how uncomfortable “Just be kind” can be when I made it clear that I did not.
But what if I hadn’t? How openly would she cast aspersions on the people of color who were simply there to turn dirty clothes to clean for their families?
Just being kind can feel uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable to direct a stranger to the right path. It’s uncomfortable to be corrected. But in the end, it’s a kindness.
It’s the President of the United States demeaning faith as a “Crutch,” while surrounded by the applause of “faith leaders,” some of them masters of disguising personal ambition in Holy robes as a personal relationship with the God of the Universe. As they laughed and cheered, my heart crumbled. I considered a future where men and women of Faith conceal the truth of a freeing, loving, merciful God to protect it from the attacks of men who haven’t understood the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Don’t do that. To just be kind, we share The Good News. The Cross will stand.
You might be uncomfortable. Jesus isn’t.
I prepared myself for the content before I listened to today’s episode of The Daily. I saw that we would hear from the female attorney defending accused predator Harvey Weinstein, Donna Rotunno. I knew I would likely disagree with her point of view, but she deserves the opportunity to be heard. So, I reminded myself that as a woman in a safe place right now, it’s my responsibility to listen. And then she did it. At the end of the interview, she was asked if she had ever been a victim of a sexual assault. This was her answer: “I have not. (Pregnant Pause.) Because I would never put myself in that position.”
It was then that I almost completely forgot my kindness.
How could she be so bold as to declare that women who have been assaulted acted in some sort of irresponsible manner? She is perpetuating the idea that, “She deserved it.” Again, my heart shattered. Megan Twohey, the journalist conducting the interview, mercifully tried to allow Ms Rotunno to clarify, but it turns out, that’s really just what she meant.
Deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. Remember her humanity. Give her grace. Make a small donation to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN) and move on.
Kindness makes a difference. Kindness doesn’t stay quiet.
It’s worth the experiment
Here is the thing, sometimes, we just want to rage. That’s our nature. But how will we ever combat this virus of disdain if we keep our own hands unwashed? It’s in the ether. We should recognize it. We just don’t have to perpetuate it.
What if we commit to combatting every injustice or cruelty we see with an act of kindness. Not manners, mind you. Not “civility.” Genuine kindness.
Can we make this Kindness commitment for one week?
Let’s do it and see how it plays out in our lives. Let’s take back our power. Reclaim it right now.
When the world feels like it is spinning out of control. When good people fail to resist the temptation to pile on. When the noise feels like it is swallowing us whole, we have only one meaningful option. Kindness.
I challenge you to take five minutes right now and visualize the people in your life who you might find yourself in “Heated fellowship” with, as I heard Priscilla Shirer say. Commit in your heart and mind right now to show them kindness when you don’t feel like they deserve it.
Commit to abandoning the concept of earning your kindness. That might sound familiar to you. Actually try it on for size this week. See how it feels.
Maybe you need to practice kindness to yourself most. Now is as good a time as any. I struggle with that as well. Surely we can offer ourselves love for one week, right?
Do it. Then let me know how it has impacted you. I’d love to share more stories of overcoming cruelty with kindness so we don’t always have to end to the negative. We are the ones we have been waiting for.
Time to step out.
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