I’ve had it with mudslinging, most of it untrue, and thought it would stop after the election, but it hasn’t, so I want to write about being kind.
I got the idea this morning when I was sitting in a coffee shop and overheard a conversation. A gal was interviewing for a job that could involve dog-eat-dog competition. The interviewer said, “I want to be perfectly clear. This is not about the money. There is never, never, a reason not to be nice. There is plenty of work in this city for all of us.”
That was refreshing to hear, so to remind myself, I made a list of nice things that have happened to me in the last few months:
A fitness instructor stopped by me in the center’s bistro on her way off work and asked, “Have you found a church yet?” She’d asked after a stretch class one day and I’d told her I’d visited nine churches, eight denominations, so far and was still in the visiting mode.
A gal from an OLLI class said she’d look out for me in the next class so we could meet for coffee afterwards.
My daughter scheduled her visits to the Fitness Center with mine so she could serve as my personal coach.
Neighbors invited us to watch a Chicago Cubs game, surmising we were missing our Cubs!
An RN at the doctor’s office empathized with the changes involved in our move from a very large city and medical center to a medium size everything.
A pastor in a church I visited through an OLLI class followed up by setting up a lunch so I could meet two retired nurses in his church, both with credentials and experiences like mine.
A neighbor invited us for dinner, including other neighbors, so we could meet them.
A female deacon brought over a loaf of bread after we’d signed the guest registry twice at a church we were visiting, a practice that is one of their ministries.
And I’ve had three visits with service people who made me wonder if I looked anxious. Like when we were moving here and so many folks asked if I wanted water that I wondered if I looked dehydrated.
So, what would you think if service people repeatedly expressed “I’m sorry” as you explained your problem, or asked “Do you have any questions?” after they’d thoroughly explained solutions, or added “Is there anything else I can do for you?” when you’re ready to move on? All while maintaining eye contact and acting as though they had all day just for you. Having taught therapeutic communication, I wondered if a psychology major was a prerequisite for their jobs.
I appreciated every one of these kindnesses. And I wonder what this world would be like if every one of us would take words like these from Albert Schweitzer to heart:
Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.