I'm back at Middle Places with some thoughts on kindness, including politics, scrubbing bathrooms and crying babies on airplanes...
I’ve been thinking lately about what it means to be kind.
As we get deeper and deeper into this intense political season where passions run high and tempers are quick to flare, I’ve heard a number of people imploring us all to be kind. It seems like good advice on its surface. I strongly believe my social media feed would benefit from more kindness and less outrage.
But what does it mean to be kind in a raging world?
As I attempted to think of a moment my own life to illustrate kindness, I was overwhelmed with so many examples I wasn’t even sure how to pick the best one.
I could tell you about the time my mother-in-law spent two days meticulously cleaning our house after the moving truck came to Berkeley. Using a toothbrush to make things sparkle I didn’t even know were capable of sparkling.
I could tell you about how the friend who brought our family a meal every week for a few months so I could catch my breath in a season of getting adjusted to a new place and managing a small baby and a toddler.
I could tell you about the kindness of the man on the plane a few weeks ago, who moved to a middle seat so that my one-year-old could have his own seat instead of being my lap infant (which is a joke anyway because, at eight months pregnant, I have very little lap and at nearly 22-months-old, he’s hardly an infant).
Even as I started to think of this list, I realized all of us have our own moments and stories where we’ve experienced kindness in important ways. In fact, it might be worth it to think about those for a moment. Really. Close your eyes right there at your phone or your computer and let yourself enjoy it, remembering moments, people and places where you were well cared for, where people were friendly, generous, considerate to you.
I want you to remember what it feels like to receive kindness.
Isn’t it fun to remember?
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