“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
Love is kind.
In addition to saying, or writing, nothing negative today, I resolve to be kind to myself.
This one takes a bit of thought.
I know that I can continue with the challenge of not speaking or writing anything negative.
I actually enjoyed that challenge yesterday!
Because it WAS a challenge!
And a challenge that I, for the most part, accomplished - it felt good, too.
It was like a boost of encouragement, support, and Hope.
So, this today.
HOW do I do an act of kindness to myself?
(Praying for wisdom with understanding and insight, as well as with clarity and creativity.)
It is not hard for me to extend kindness to others.
I grew up with a Momma who was extremely kind to others.
I have seen my Momma literally give her shoes away to someone who had no shoes.
She fed hundreds upon hundreds of people at her table thru the years.
She sewed making quilts, giving them away.
She canned foods thru the spring and summer, so that she could either stock someone’s pantry come fall, or feed all these people thru the winters.
Our place was 3 acres long and 1/2 an acre wide.
At the back of the place there was a railroad.
Many hobo’s rode that line.
And most of them ended up at our house for a meal, at least once or twice.
Momma had one flowerbed that she refused to work - saving it for the hobo’s.
She would tell them to pull weeds while she fixed them something to eat.
Those that did received a full hot meal.
Those who refused to work, well, they were fed - but only a cold biscuit and a glass of water.
“If you don’t work, you don’t eat.”
Once the Interstate highway was put in front of our house, the truckers would find their way to Momma’s front door - for a cup of coffee, or a full meal.
Sometimes just to use the bathroom, or rest on the porch because they were too sleepy to continue driving.
After we got a phone installed, many of them would call their company, or call their families to let them know where they were.
Many a night was spent keeping the coffee pot bubbling on the stove, and potatoes frying in the skillet.
- - Daddy and Momma eventually sold that old place, and moved into town. Rick and I were still going to the little country church that we had grown up in. One morning before church a man and his wife came in, and he was quite agitated, more like angry! He was telling us that they had just bought a farm house near the church, but were having to put up a large fence and gate because people would not stop coming to them all hours of the day and night. As I listened, I began to wonder. I looked at Rick, who knew my story of growing up with Momma, and he smiled. I asked the man what house they had recently bought. He described our old homeplace. I started laughing. Very angrily, he said, “It’s not funny! These people are coming to the house at 2 and 3 a.m. asking to use the bathroom, or for a cup of coffee!” The more he talked, the more I could not stop laughing. Finally, catching my breath, I said, “That’s my Momma’s legacy!” And I explained how my Momma had been. He looked at me, shook his head, and said, “She was crazy for doing that! She could have been killed! She had no idea who those people were that she let in her house!” I sat there a moment and said Momma’s words: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2. I told him, “Momma believed in being kind no matter the cost to herself. Because that is what the Bible tells us to do.” He walked away, shaking his head. I looked at Rick with tears in my eyes, and asked him what he thought. Rick’s answer? “Honey, you and your Momma were right in doing those things. Do not allow the hardness of one person’s heart to change you, or to rob you of the joy in these memories.”
I learned kindness from my Momma.
Rick continued the kindness.
He was the most kind and gentle giant that I have ever known.
I have seen that man go out in all kinds of weather, at all hours of the day and night, to help someone - whether to get a cow back in the fence, chase a lost dog, find a wayward kid, fix a flat tire, or a hundred other reasons.
With no regard to himself or what it might cost him in time, energy, or money.
Many times he has paid for someone’s gas at the pump, because he would see that they were only getting a few dollars of fuel, and in striking up a conversation with them would come to find out that they were on a longer journey than what $5 of fuel would take them.
He has given away his lunch to homeless people at stop signs.
He has literally taken his shirt off to give it to someone who needed it more than he did.
He gathered in boots and coats, not to hoard them, but so that he could give them away.
One time I had been sick for several days and had not been able to eat much at all. When I was feeling better, he asked what I wanted to eat. The only thing that sounded good was Italian food from our favorite restaurant. He said that knowing I didn’t feel good enough to go out to eat, he would just run to town and pick up supper for us. He was gone a lot longer than I was expecting, and I was getting quite worried by the time he walked back in the house with our food. I asked him if everything was ok, thinking that maybe the restaurant had been extra busy, or there had been some kind of accident on the road. He just smiled, and said, “Everything could not be better! God just showed me something tonight, and I can’t wait to share it with you!”
We sat down at the table, supper waiting. He sat there with his eyes glistening in the tears, and he told me what had happened.
When he got to the restaurant, he placed our order, and then sat down on the bench to wait. As he was waiting, people were coming in and going out - typical for a restaurant. The first person or two that came or went, Rick said he sat there and just watched the door. Then, there was a woman who had her hands full with her purse, and the food she was leaving with. He stood up, opened the door for her, and said she smiled big and told him “Thank you”. He continued with his story, telling how that person after person came to the door - coming in, or going out - and each time, he would open the door for them. Nothing special really. Just open the door. But time after time they would tell him how they appreciated him, or sometimes just a word of Thank You. He said he got so caught up in doing this that he forgot about our supper, and missed it when the waitress called him for the order. She came over to him with the order and asked him why he was opening the door like he was. He looked at her, and said, “It was my time to serve.”
Then he said as he was driving back home to me, he realized just how much JOY he had received in doing that small act of kindness. Opening the door. And how that he had committed his life to the Lord to be a SERVANT of Kindness for the Lord.
His acts of kindness from that point until the end only increased.
A hundred ways.
So many memories flood my mind as I write these words.
So, yeah, I guess being kind to others is just a natural thing for me.
It comes easy.
But the whole idea of being “kind” to myself?
That’s a different thought.
How do I do that?
How do I show kindness to others?
I listen when they talk, really listen. Not just hear their voice.
- so I need to listen to my own thoughts and heart. Listen to remember. Not listen to respond.
I give others compliments. Not to be fake, but there is always something nice that can be said to someone, always.
- so I need to say compliments to myself. Tell myself that I look better than I feel. That I am a doing a better job that it seems.
I am a hugger, which means I am known not only to hug those that I know, but yes, I have hugged strangers!
- how do I give myself a hug?
- a good soaking foot bath?
- a sweet smelling lotion put on after a long hot shower?
- a good cup of coffee to enjoy, with no agenda, no time limit, just breathe and drink
- relish a good book, or a movie
- do something that I enjoy, whether scrapbooking, coloring, crafting, or even just taking a nap.
Be kind to me ...
Just be kind to me.
Lord, this is a different concept for me.
Being kind to others comes easy.
Being kind to myself, with NO guilt or condemnation? Yeah, that’s a challenge.
But with Your help, I can scale this wall.
I ask You for wisdom with clarity and creativity.
And I ask to see me more with Your eyes, and less with my own.
In Jesus’ Name I pray.
Life goes on -
Website designed & developed by Margaret McCoy
God is God over the storms in my life & world -
and I am His.
Trusting in Him. Holding to His Promises as He holds me.
Learning to laugh, to love, & to live ... again - without Rick, but with God
Life goes on ... even when we don't want it to.
Great grief is indicative of a great Love.
Rick, my Sweetheart.
Margaret, his Beloved.
Always & Forever.