When life gets busy something usually gets pushed aside for a while and in my case it’s been keeping up with my blog. I’ve missed not only the creativity of blogging, but I’ve missed the connection to other bloggers and followers as well. So on that note….I’m jumping back in (and yep, this is the perfect place for me to put my awesome skydiving picture from a few weeks ago…jumping….)
I’m on a bit of a track in my life right now concerning kindness. In fact, a while back I had the opportunity to preach in our Sunday morning service and I shared on the Intentionality Of Kindness. Whenever we put ourselves out there publicly in any fashion or capacity, we make the decision to be vulnerable. While it sounds noble, being vulnerable doesn’t just mean we get to hear the “great job, well done,” it means we’ve opened ourselves up to being criticized, insulted and hurt. Most writers, singers, artists, preachers, anyone who chooses to “display” themselves, so to speak, know this. Yet knowing doesn’t make it any easier when there seems to be a missing element to the potential responses: Kindness.
When I was a little girl I learned the old cliché’ “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.” While I’m not suggesting we lose our ability to voice our thoughts and opinions, nor should we exchange honesty for platitudes, I mostly wonder at what point we thought it was ok to step across the line to just being mean?
Within the realm of being a decorator I’ve made a few decisions: First, I allow myself the freedom to go into any public space and think about how I would have done things differently from color choices to space layout to pictures on the wall. I can also appreciate that someone has gone to a lot of hard work at some point so I also look around with an eye to find those great ideas in the space. Second, I refuse to go into anyone’s personal environment and mentally critique the area. Their personal space is just that; personal. And while maybe I would have done things differently, it doesn’t matter. It’s not my home or my room and I wasn’t asked for help or ideas. I can find value in it because it’s their life, not mine. These decisions hold me mentally accountable to be kind. Not only that but it’s a spiritual quality and area of character in my life I have chosen to live by. While I don’t always succeed, I still strive to get there.
The humongous web world we now live in has allowed the human heart of kindness to break down. Blogging, social networking, chat sites and forums have opened up a world of anonymity where people don’t have to check their attitudes or opinions. Blurt it out there, type it in, hit send and who cares, right? But we do care. Our human souls are affected by ugly, heartless words even if we don’t know the person(s) saying them. They are unnecessary and devalue the human race.
One thing I am appreciative of is the kindness of fellow bloggers. I honestly have never had anything but positive, encouraging words and comments to my posts which reminds me there are others out there who believe in the power of kindness. When I read other people’s blogs, I recognize time and effort having gone into their words and photos and whether I approve of the viewpoint or not is somewhat irrelevant. It’s theirs. They’ve gifted me by allowing me to share in that little glimpse and piece of their life. Why would I make some smart-mouthed, snarky comment that would only tear them down? When I listen to someone sing publicly, even if it’s shaky at best, I applaud the bravery it takes to be so vulnerable. I’ve been there and know how intimidating it can be to sing in front of a few people or a crowd. What kind of person would I be to shame them for their efforts by saying unkind, ugly words?
When I preached my sermon I talked about random acts of kindness. While these simple displays are necessary and so needed, I would much rather humanity took a turn and simply lived in intentional kindness all the time. Reality or not, it’s nice to imagine what that world would look like this side of Heaven.
It’s nice to be back