Monday, July 19, 2010

In Kind


Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are to some extent a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece by thought, choice, courage and determination.” ~John Luther

Write injuries in sand, kindnesses in marble” ~French proverb

* * *

It's unfortunate that in our culture we are so busy, so driven, so perpetually moving that kindness, like chivalry, can sometimes feel antiquated. We expect most people to be operating under the pressures of their own agenda, driven by the momentum of their hectic schedule and private objectives.

By contrary, I recently encountered a situation where someone was unexpectedly kind--so kind, in fact, that I left the situation a little stunned by it. It was a kindness that was unnecessary and unselfish and unforeseen. And it centered me in a way I did not expect.

I believe certain things about why we are here: to encourage each other in the pursuit of faith, to heal more than we wound, to grow as people. Sometimes I get tied up in the knots of anxieties and pressures and to-do lists. It's so natural because things like money and work do impact our life. But how we treat those around us, the cultivation of our character.... those are the things that last.

So, wherever you are this week, I pray you are blessed by an unexpected act of kindness, and that likewise you have the opportunity to risk kindness to someone God places in your path.



Alisha said...

Great post Jessica...I needed this today.

Megan said...

love this post!!...the other day, i experienced a kindness only a mother could appreciate. i was trying to get some shopping done at a local strip mall and i had 2 of my girls in our double stroller and the other one hanging on to my shirt and one kicking away inside my ever growing belly, as i was trying to open a door and manuever this beast of a stroller through. i was having a difficult time, the wheels kept hitting the door frame, people were staring at me from inside the shop and i was getting some looks from the people walking past us, until this older man was walking by and stopped just to hold the door for us. i said thank you so much, and he went on his way. it blew my mind that no one else thought to do that! it was the simplest form of kindness, holding a door open for someone, but it really meant a lot to me.

Mrs.LifeAccounts said...

What a beautiful post Jess, it's so easy to get overwhelmed by the crazy overdrive our society tends to run on. Taking the time to spread that kindness down not only blesses another but also puts a lightness into our own steps! Thanks for the reminder!

Jessica Haley said...

Thanks for your comments, Alisha and Jen! All the comments have made their way over to facebook lately, so it's nice to see some here, too.

Megan, I know exactly what you mean. I had a similar situation last Christmas:

Both of my kids, my husband, my father, and my uncle all have birthdays within 2 weeks of each other in December, right in the middle of the holiday season. Robert, being in wine, is really busy, and of course so am I. It was around that time that I was waiting in line, begrudging the whole nature of the holiday season and fuming in my head that there was just too much for a mom to do. The line was long, and I was watching the people next to me, thinking they better not cut in front of me. Holding my pile of stuff and in the middle of my internal rant, the person in front of me (who had one item) said, "You look like you have a lot to do today; why don't you go ahead of me. Merry Christmas."

I was taken aback. It was a small act of kindness, but it was a significant one to me.

Meredith said...

So very true Jessica, I love the spirit of giving and helping others when I can so I often do and it has always returned itself to me in one way or another when I needed it the most. Great post.

Brianne-zam said...

I love the photo that you complimented your wonderful post with. Nothing seems to calm my busy, worried, or frustrated mood more instantaneously than when one of my sweet boys comes to me with a little flower they have picked and says "Here Mommy, this is for you!" I love when that happens. Such sweetness!

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