Yesterday was wonderful. (I try to make every day wonderful, but yesterday was extra special). Some people are so filled with love and kindness that it shines forth in all that they do, and spending an hour with such a person yesterday was really wonderful.
June 28 will always be a special day to me. My dear friend was born 44 years ago on this date. He was one of the most thoughtful and kindest people I ever met. Even though he passed away two years ago, the love and the kindness live on in my memory. Kindness never dies.
Have you noticed that employees don't say "you're welcome" these days? Most of the time it seems to be "no worries," which wouldn't bother me if I were Australian, but I'm not. I'd have no issue if they said "my pleasure." I might even prefer it. It's all about courtesy. "No worries" just seems way too indifferent to me. In courtesy, it's always better to take the high road. "I'm so glad I didn't cause a problem or worry you," should not be what you are thinking. Instead I want to feel glad I was there. Wow! She said it was her pleasure. How nice!
I love this saying: "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." I totally believe it. I searched to see who said it and found unknown as well as Aesop. Therefore, I can't say for sure who these words belong to, but like I said, I totally believe it!
On this day when many lgbtq Pride Parades and Celebrations take place at various cities around the globe, we still have so much work to do to make this a kinder world. But I'm encouraged when I think of the words spoken by Lin-Manuel Miranda in June of last year when he was awarded a Tony Award: "This show is proof that history remembers. We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger. We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer. And love is love is love is love is love is love is love, and love cannot be killed or swept aside. I sing Vanessa's symphony, Eliza tells her story, now fill the world with music, love, and pride."
Songwriters Paul Field, Henk Pool, Robert Riekerk, and Ralph Van Mennen hit a home run when they wrote Testify to Love. On what is LGBTQ Pride Weekend in many places, I'm thinking of the incredible lyrics of that song: "For as long as I shall live I will testify to love. I'll be a witness in the silence Says the words are not enough. With every breath I take I will give thanks to God above. For as long as I shall live I will testify to love."
Is there optimism or pessimism in your life? Perhaps a bit of both? About that glass - you know, is it half full or half empty? It seems to me that we sometimes think about that too much and should simply be grateful to have the glass!
Am I a kinder person than I was yesterday? Do I show more warmth and affection toward others? Am I unselfish? Is there love and consideration in my behavior? How thoughtful am I? None of us is perfect of course, but I try each day to be kind toward everyone - not always the easiest of tasks!
It's 99° where I live, and it's only 7am. I keep hearing about other really hot cities. In Phoenix I'm told it was 122° yesterday! I told someone that is like stepping on to the surface of the sun! On hot days like these, kindness is more and more important. People are not comfortable, so help them with a pleasant attitude. Stay hydrated. You might want to carry an extra bottle or two of water to share with others. Don't forget the animals too. They won't be liking this heat either!
When I was little, I remember seeing "whites only" signs and public water fountains were all labeled "colored" or "white." I didn't understand it. My mom said the only thing that should be separated by color is laundry. I still see people not wanting to interact with people of different races or ethnicities and I still don't understand it. The same with sexual orientation - why be separate? The more we experience each other, the more we experience life!
Did someone teach you to be kind? Did you observe your grandmother or your mom, or perhaps a teacher and learn from seeing them, or did you become a kind and thoughtful person all on your own? I wonder, just how much is nature and how much is nurture?
Want to become a more kind person? Perhaps you can begin with some of these ideas. Stop by a nursing home, and visit a resident with no family nearby. Go through your closets and find several nice items and then donate them to a shelter. Volunteer to be a tutor in a school. Tell your children (or your parents) why you love them. Spend some time serving food at a meal program for the needy. Take an acquaintance to dinner. Sponsor people in fundraising walk-a-thons. Pay a compliment at least once a day. The possibilities are endless.
My friend Jonah Kim is one of the most inspiring people I know. He says "It's easy to love those who love you, that is, when they love you the way you want to be loved. It isn't so easy to love those who wrong you time and time again. But we are human and we are bound to fail those we love over and over again over the course of a lifetime." Jonah continues "Some say this kind of love can only exist between parent and child. If you have never experienced the desire to love this way, perhaps you haven't learned to truly love yet. This is why divorce rates keep rising; majority of matrimonial vows are defenestrated in the first year because the 'I' is so much more important than the 'love you'."
Sometimes out of the blue, someone will do something that just warms your heart. It's easy to talk about kindness and those various things we do for each other, but you know what else is kind? Simple concern. The other day I got a phone call from someone who just wanted to be sure I was okay. She said that she hadn't seen or heard from me in awhile, and was concerned. What a kind an loving thing to do!
I used to love hearing Andy Rooney's observations on life. This is one of my favorites: “For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his/her happiness on major events like a great job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.”
On June 12, 2016, a man pulled out a gun and killed 49 people and wounded 58 others in a hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. It was the deadliest act of violence against LGBT people in US history. It was not the last. LGBT people face hate and violence every day. In some parts of the world, it is even worse. We must remember the massacre in Orlando, but we must also insure that these incidents don't keep repeating. We need to turn to kindness and love and we need to end the hate.
The late San Francisco Supervisor said "It takes no compromise to give people their rights. . .it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression." During today's Equality March for Unity and Pride, I'll be thinking about Harvey's words. Someday I hope true equality is a reality.
After some tough days, I was trying to think of something encouraging and most of my words seemed a bit short. Then I was reminded of some marvelous words from L.R. Knost, She gets right to it saying "Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things ... can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally."
When it's really hot outside, it can me easier to get frustrated and even lose your temper, but a kind smile can help. On those sizzling days of summer, it's more important than ever to be kind to each other. Pop a few bottles of water in the freezer, and take them with you are you go about your day. Most folks will be delighted it you give them one of these bottles, with the water still nice and cold!
Someone thanked me for spreading kindness. Do I do that? I just try to encourage the behavior that I would like to encounter, and yes, I love it when folks are kind to me. If we all like it, we can all do it too, and the spreading is very easy. Being kind just comes naturally!
How much will they charge you to be kind? Absolutely nothing! It's free. Hold that door wide open for the person approaching behind you. Pay your coworker a compliment. Share that smile with folks on the street. There are so many ways to be kind to others, and it doesn't have to cost you a thing!
Yesterday I met someone for the first time and it began with a compliment. Now compliments are always great, especially when they are sincere and from the heart. One more compliment though that he won't even hear: this was the kindest and most productive experience I have had in a very long time!
Just a couple of weeks ago, concert-goers were killed and others wounded, and last night another night of terror in England with more deaths and many injuries. When will this end? I'm not saying we can wave a magic wand or that we should all sing Kumbaya and Imagine and all will be well, but surely we can return love and kindness to this world and get rid of all the hate. I really believe that. Let's work on it.
So many kind readers out there in cyberspace (a counter tells me when someone clicks on this blog. It doesn't say who and it certainly doesn't know if you actually read these words, but I would guess that most who come here, actually read what I have written), but everyone is silent. Oh my! Please feel free to add your thoughts about kindness below!
Be kind. (It's really quite simple. The message doesn't have to be complex. We don't have to spend hours thinking about it. Why would anyone not want to be a good kind person? It just doesn't make sense. And so, this very simple message). Be kind.
During his inaugural address January 21, 2013, President Barack Obama said "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well." I should also point out that during all eight years in office, President Obama issued proclamations naming June as LGBT Pride Month.