"Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true. " ~Robert Brault
I've been thinking lately, that there is another aspect of my life that I didn't include in the top ten.
What good would being thin and holy and beautiful and married and talented even be- if we are not kind? If we are not good people inside- the outside doesn't matter. We all need to strive to improve our relationships with others.
I suppose that Character could be absorbed by all the top ten on my list. Because it truly must be present in all aspects in order for the gears of life to turn correctly. Not one of those ten things, perfectly done, is a success- if done with the wrong attitude- or a sour heart.
Attitude is key.
And kindness is never wasted.
"Don't be yourself - be someone a little nicer." ~Mignon McLaughlin
Kindness shouldn't have to be forced, faked or forged. And when it is- it becomes transparent, worthless and weak. Don't ever pretend. People can see through it. Hearts get broken, friendships die, and lives are upset.
Being nicer should be natural- easy- and a daily priority. And once you start to utilize your smile and kind words, each day becomes easier- brighter- more enriched with friends.
It all goes back to the simplicity of God's word: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
"You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have never had many friends. In fact, I can still count the close ones on one hand.
In high school I knew all the "cool" kids, but didn't hang out in their circles. In fact, I didn't even have a circle. I always felt as though I didn't fit in- wasn't good enough- rich enough- or cool enough. I was reclusive, quiet, stand-offish. But I always smiled, said hello, and brightened someone's day whenever I could.
It doesn't take much to smile and open a door for someone, compliment them on their new shoes, laugh at their jokes and offer assistance. Go the extra mile.
You'll feel better. Because it's contagious.
"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person." ~Dave Barry, "Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn"
I started banking at a local facility here and immediately noticed how unfriendly the teller was. She never smiled, rarely greeted me as I pulled to the window, and "Thank you" was evidently
lacking from her vocabulary.
I could have easily snapped back. Frowned. Become sour whenever she appeared to wait on me. Sneered at her...treated her unkindly.
But I didn't.
I tried to think of excuses for her. She hates her job. She's had a bad day, There are problems at home. We do not know what kind of lives that are led behind closed doors. (Yet, ideally, as a professional person that interacts with the public, she should have set her problems aside until after work hours.)
One day I had just had enough of Sour Puss.
"Oh- are you wearing your hair different?" I asked, "It looks really cute." (And it really did.)
Her frosty demeanor melted instantly. Her pickle face turned peachy. Her frigid eyes lit up and that frown curled into a beautiful smile.
"Thank you," she said.
With a few kind words, I managed to put kind words back into her vocabulary.
And even today- every time I do my banking there, she greets me with a smile and a bit of chit-chat, and a sincere wish that I have a good day.
"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." ~Anäis Nin
Years ago, when I was in third grade or so, the teacher decided that we should all have pen pals. We picked a name and address off a list and promptly sent out handwritten notes about ourselves in short scribbled paragraphs. I think it was an exercise in writing and not in friendship, but it made us realize that everyone loved communication. Because whenever I got my own letter in the mail, I was ecstatic. My pen pal wrote me!
It may have been just a half page of the weather -or their dog- or something they did at school, but it was a private message- an invisible link- an unsaid friendship that sprung from kindness and concern.
"Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something. " ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
I am so blessed with a new kind of pen pal now.
My blogging friends.
How wonderful to start out the morning knowing that there are people out there who don't care if you're "cool"- don't know that you're wearing stretched out pajamas- and never question your new hair color!
These women may have invisible faces, but they have obvious hearts. Big and full and ready to spread their kindness and share their lives. They are honest. Loyal.Talented.Funny. Sad.
They open up the door to their lives and share their corner of the world. Through words and photos and the telling of their tales.
They may not know it, but they make me smile. Their blogs are like that pen pal letter coming to me in the mail. I'm ecstatic!
As a blogger, it is always wonderful to know you have a new follower. Someone who cares what you say and likes how you say it.
When I went to church Sunday- (Yes! You heard me correctly- it's the first time I'd been to a church service in over ten years! But that's beside the point!)
Anyway...I was introduced to Cathy. A very sweet gal who claims to read my blogs every day.
Wow! A new friend- suddenly visible and real! Thank you, Cathy. I now think of you every time I drag myself to the keyboard and hammer my brain for ideas.
Your kindness gives me the push to create.
And your friendship gives me a silent happiness that cannot be expressed.
"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. " ~Henri Nouwen
This year, I vow to be kinder, sweeter, softer. I vow to be more understanding, aware, and considerate of others. I vow to uplift, carry and pull those people I meet who need a shot of
generosity and positive influence. I vow to make new friends, even if we never meet. To do unto others as I would have them do unto me.
To build my Character.
Because when the time comes and my life is over, I hope every person in the room can say without a doubt- "She was kind."
"A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble." ~Charles H. Spurgeon