nice blue droplet splashing in a clean water

Oh, I am sorry, forgive me,
I said,
I didn’t mean to be–

thoughtless, unkind, rude.

So, forgive me, for those
things I said or did.
I didn’t mean anything.
Just joking.
Just kidding.

I hurt your feelings?
Don’t be so sensitive!
Couldn’t you tell I was being–

And then someone called me “bossy”
in the most teasing sort of tone.
I knew he meant
pushy, aggressive, ambitious.
Someone else commented
–oh so kindly–
on my weight,
wondering what I was doing
to get into shape.
There have been other asides
I won’t quote,
words intended to be droll, I must note,
not cutting or demeaning
Two lessons from life’s journey:

if it tears down rather than builds up,
don’t say it–

forgive careless words
spoken by others.

Be a pebble of kindness in the pond of life,
creating ripples of forgiveness.



Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Need a smile? Give a smile.At the local nursing home I learned – all over again – the power of a smile. As a Deacon in my church I know the value of approaching life in general, and troubled souls specifically, with kindness in your heart and mind. When that kindness is expressed with a smile, it creates common ground. Nowhere is this more evident that when you smile at elders in a nursing home and say hello. The transformation is amazing. Faces pulled down by the weight of being alone, or old, or by the never-never land of dementia, light up like candles in a dark room. Is it because for a moment the individual feels validated, real and present, acknowledged by someone who took time to smile and perhaps say a word of greeting? Or maybe she sees in that smile a vision of herself as she was, and still is. Behind the façade of age or mental illness or physical limitations, he sees that someone cares.

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do,” Mother Teresa said. Smile, you never know who needs it, and it will make a difference, mostly in you. _______________________




The ripple effect of kindness

Ripple Effect

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)

Unfortunately much of the daily news is horrific. Thank the Lord for broadcasters who attempt in some small part to find one “good news” story to report, or some heroic act done by a selfless person. Frequently these folks say after doing some very brave thing, “I’m no hero. I just knew I had to so something.” The good deed gets maybe 30 to 45 seconds of airtime and then it’s back to the basics, violence in one form or another punctuated by misconduct, murder and mayhem.

Remember the television show, House? Hugh Laurie said of his television character Gregory House: “As a real person, he wouldn’t last a minute, would he? But drama is about imperfection. And we’ve moved away from the aspirational hero. We got tired of it; it was dull. If I was House’s friend, I would hate it. How he so resolutely refuses to be happy or take the kindhearted road. But we don’t always like morally good people, do we?”

I am troubled by this assessment. Is it because I fear Laurie is right? We want the heroic underdog to overcome, or at least we say we do, but too often we relate to the negative personality or anti-hero. They seem more real to us than the sterling good guy, the Dudley Do-Right. He’s just too good to be true, and if Laurie is correct, we see the good guy as boring or foolhardy while the badass is exciting. I wonder how many battered women feel that way after living with a badass for a while?

The television and movie industry, perhaps the entertainment industry overall, reflects our fascination with negativity. Much of what we see is less about overcoming and more about fallibility. There are few heroes, unless they’re dressed in goofy super-power costumes. The elemental goodness of ordinary people is rarely revealed. Do we not believe in or want to promote goodness?

I believe in goodness. I am uplifted when I see a story in the paper about personal triumph, or about someone who went the extra mile to help someone else. That is what shapes my world.

And that’s the point of life, not what other people do, but how you treat people and give back goodness, even when you have been treated unfairly. Every act of mercy and kindness has a far-reaching effect, perhaps in ways you will never know. One act of kindness may be little more than a drop in the bucket that is life, yet you can be assured it will ripple out and touch others.

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Encourage one another…

And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  1 Thessalonians 5:14

EncouragementIt is good to encourage others. By doing so, we are encouraged as well. When we reach out to help someone who is struggling, we understand that at some point we, too, will need help. Find the good in your neighbor. Look for the talents in your friends. Tell someone how much you appreciate them. Draw strength from being patient and understanding. Kindness builds character.

You never know when your encouragement will make a difference in the life of another person. Anne Mansfield Sullivan did not give up on Helen Keller. She encouraged her, instructed her, and brought discipline into her life. She gave Helen hope, which put an end to her unruly behavior and gave her a future. Helen overcame her limitations and became world famous for her advocacy for the blind. “We are never really happy until we try to brighten the lives of others,” she wrote. Keller understood perhaps better than most that encouraging someone else has a personal benefit to the one who gives it.

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