Kindness: Where did it go?

Where Did Kindness Go?

It doesn't cost anything extra to be nice.

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Somewhere, someone reading this article is convinced that this is a coffee-fueled, sleep-deprived, rant for the sake of ranting against someone who cut me off in traffic yesterday while I was scarfing down my burrito supreme and trying to work on flashcards for finals.

And I could completely understand where they would get that idea. Since it is nearing finals, I could bite someone's head off.

But that's not why I'm writing about this. I'm just writing about it because it popped into my head today.

There is just a lot of rude and mean people walking around. Plain and simple. Thing is, it doesn't have to be that way.

We are all absolutely guilty of being unkind every now and again, but we normally apologize to those who we've been rude to, and move on. We don't reside in this constant state of anger and bitterness.

Truth be told, I think this atmosphere of unkindness begins from the heart. I know, I should write for DaySpring Cards or something.

But seriously, it all begins with our attitude underneath. I'm currently working on disciplining my own life and refining and honing what I know needs to be done.

I'm a Christ-follower, and everything I do I want to do hand in hand with Him. Of the many, many names that He has been called over thousands of year, one that means so much to me is the Potter. We are all His clay, and He wants to craft, and shape, and color, and chisel, and form us the way He wants to.

Sometimes we fight back or resist the changes He wants to make, for a number of reasons. Maybe it's uncomfortable, or it's going to be difficult, or it doesn't fit the plan for our lives that we saw best.

Sometimes the clay tries to tell the Potter what to do.

But what does any of this clay stuff have to do with being Kind??

"But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart..." Matthew 15:18

Most of the times, a bad tongue and bad mouth stems from a bad heart.

Whether you believe in Christ or not, I think we can all agree that who we are underneath all the flesh and fantasies will be reflected in the way we live, which includes how we treat others.

How effective would we be at trying to treat a person with Cancer, with focusing on the tumor? What if we just treated the outside symptoms and their pain or discomfort, but didn't try to get to the bottom of it all?

Kindness is a Heart problem. And, that's a pretty big one. Just ask any heart surgeon.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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Poetry On The Odyssey: It's a Girl

An ode to the little girl raised to be insecure.

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They raise little girls to be insecure

Little girls grow to be big girls

People always ask big girls why they're so insecure

Big girls aren't quite sure

Day after day the big girl can't keep up

She's exhausted

Her soul feels worn

The big girl learns to grow hard

In a way, she's a bit stronger

People call her a bitch

Bitch

What is that?

How can she let that affect her

It's simply the only way to be her

She mourns that little girl

Hoping that one day

She'll be strong


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