Today I am grateful to be alive, to feel, see and know the grace and power of something we call Spirit. That alone is joy and gift enough!
Every time I hear this question I try to reframe it slightly within my mind to; how can I commit a ‘routine’ act of kindness today? Random, to me, means I may be overlooking this person or that opportunity while waiting for the “random” recipient of my expression of kindness to appear. I am truer to myself to just be kind from the beginning to the end of my day and in so doing the ‘act’ will take care of itself. (And from day to day, I admit, my overall score does vary.)
Either way we approach this question I am reminded of the quote by the Rev. John Watson, “Be kind, everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden.”
As a practicing Quaker, most, if not all of my values exist within the manner of Friends. A list of “queries” within our book of “Faith and Practice” help to guide Friends so that our actions are in right order with our professed faith and inner spiritual experience. Of course in my heart-of-hearts I know that I never bat 100% in following the tenants of my faith but I’m reasonably content with trying to every day.
Observing a sunrise, seeing a newborn baby for the first time, watching the antics of young children, and anytime my grandchildren beat me at Foosball! Any of these everyday life-events have me smiling ear-to-ear.
Not sure why, but as soon as I read today’s question the words of Psalm 19:14 sprang to mind, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord,…”. For me, this seems like a good place to begin before saying anything to anyone. There’s a refrain sung in one of the songs by the a cappella group “Sweet Honey in the Rock” where they sing the words of Palm 19:14 over and over again, almost as a mantra. There have been times in the past when I was about to walk into a potentially contentious setting as a part of my work, and I was aware that whatever I said would impact the outcome. As a way of calming myself, I’d hum that particular refrain over and over again. It always seemed to work.
Who puts “honey” in my heart? My wife, first and foremost, followed by my family, which includes our dog Gracie; folks near and far within my faith community; my rowing companions; and people in the community at Gratefulness.org. NOTE to Gratefulness Team: Looks like last year’s entries for the same date have reloaded into today’s responses, as it did one day last week also.)
Today’s question reminds me that I need to reach out to two people who attend our Quaker meeting from time to time. One, shall we are say, is not the “warm and fuzzy” personality type of individual. The other person more often than not appears gruff and at times contrary when engaged in brief conversation with people around him. It is human nature, perhaps, to easily overlook certain people like this, when in fact we know that they likely have needs unmet also and just might be happy that I called just to say hello. So these are two calls that I will make later this morning as a result of today’s question. (Thank you, Gratefulness team!)
I must have missed the memo that excused me from being responsible for what happens in my day. Honestly, I didn’t know that I had a choice? To be sure, about 98% of whatever daily difficulties I encounter are of my own doing. The other two percent I reserve for whining and feeling sorry for myself. I think that it’s good to leave room for improvement.
I’m with Ursula, and left speechless by your words and courage. You surely are a model for others and right now I’m imagining that God is looking around saying, “I should have made more souls like Cintia.”
Hope that you feel better soon, Trevor.
And thank you, Anna. I just love how words, through literature, sacred texts, music and the spoken word find their way throughout the world.
Wow, what a wonderful way for your priest, or any clergy person of any faith, to lead into a sermon or prepared message.
You’re very welcome, Saoirse. As a long-time blogger, I know that these things happen, and when they do, I call in the techs, or in my case, a fantastic freelancer who keeps my site nicely between the ditches of crashes and “404” codes…whatever that means. And I also admit, somewhat impishly, that I smile…but just a little, when it happens on other sites instead of my own! Ha! Cheers, and Peace to you. – Kevin
And I thank you in return for your candidness, and sheer honesty in pointing out those very real “bumps” on the road we all travel when it comes to practicing compassion.
Oh goodness Anna, when I first read the question, “who needs my compassion right now?” I also saw an embedded “SHOULD” in there too, which for some people in certain situations would immediately make them feel guilty to the core of their being. And when it comes to dishing out compassion to family members, and especially to ones parents who have added to the scars of growing up it is even more difficult. You’re always in a difficult spot here seeing your parents express love for your sons, which you welcome for all the right reasons, yet in so doing it also reveals old “tapes” and old wounds from the past. Perhaps it’s okay to just “sprinkle” just enough compassion upon your parents to keep things workable but carry the rest of your compassion onward to places where it can be given liberally, and where the returns are in equal measure and leave you feeling whole.
Do take care my friend.
Greetings Elise, I am struck by the clarity and honesty of your words here. It seems that you are indeed in a very difficult situation with this man in particular. The question of “who needs our compassion right now?” is easy to state, easy to ask, and quite another thing to deliver in every circumstance. It seems to me that taking care of yourself here is of utmost importance, and while sad to say, there are always some people out there who are so caustic, so destructive to everyone and everything around them that it just isn’t safe for most people to interact with them. My hope and my prayer is that the “right” person, or set of circumstances will come along at some point to help this individual, but from what you have shared it seems that it will not be you. That may be hard to hear, I realize, but taking care of you, preserving you and cherishing you needs to come first.
My very best to you.
Thank you, MA, for your comments. Here’s hoping that peace attends you and your days to come. Wishing you all the best. – Kevin
Made my day too, in fact! Thank you, Ellen.
So, so true, KC….the folks I row with are not called the “Gray Buzzards” for nothing! all of us, from the youngest at 54 to the oldest at 83, live and continue prospering with all kinds of aches and pains. Among our teammates are one doctor, two clergy, two lawyers, a pharmacist, a social worker and a few business people. We like to tell people we’re shopping for an orthopedic and perhaps an anesthesiologist! Ha!
Gosh, Ursula, I’ve been thinking about your words here….so, so true, from schooling, to nuns (I went to a catholic school for all of four months and to be honest, I was a bit of a hell-raiser that particular year. As an adult, I’ve met several nuns while doing chaplaincy work, and I hold them in awe for the work they do.) Thinking of your youngest son, I totally agree that some children are just born wise and live with a unique rhythm all their own that that others notice time and time again. – Peace to you my friend, Kevin
Thanks, Mary. Not sure what got into me but after I read the question seeking rapid-fire ways of loving oneself it just struck me as funny. Have a splendid day!
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