Kindness can mean many things – giving people stuff, helping folks, saying kind words, not saying or thinking mean things about people, protecting the environment, and praying for people. On that last one – praying – I haven’t written much because it seemed like a throw away phrase. Something you say when someone dies and there’s no action to take. Well, it’s time to mention prayer.

PRAYER: You can never have too many rosaries – or can you? I realized that I could only say one rosary at a time and our household had several so we agreed to give two extra ones away. But it wasn’t so easy. I planned to walk to a neighborhood second hand religious goods store and give them the rosaries. Unfortunately it had gone out of business. I ended up taking them to our parish school. Done.

ACTS OF KINDNESS: Then I went on to more direct acts of kindness:

  • Donated 2 dresses and shoes to our contra dance dress swap last weekend,
  • Made applesauce and scones for community meals
  • Gave a Kroger gift card to someone in the checkout lane at the Kroger grocery.
  • Danced with a couple people who didn’t have partners at our dance

KIND SPEECH & THOUGHTS: But I’m still trying to speak more kindly like:
1. Giving compliments
2. Refraining from making a criticism about a person behind their back
3. Going beyond gossip to not even thinking negatively about another
4. Trying to understand why people evoke a critical reaction in me
I’ve done pretty well with #1 and am getting better at catching myself with #2. To help me I decided to put tape over my mouth for two days to remind myself to be mindful of my words every time I spoke. Don’t worry, I took it off and put it on my hand when I was in public.

LOVING AN ENEMY: But trying to really “love my enemies” when they seem to me to be harming others and our country through their political office or votes – now that’s a challenge. I lay a lot of blame on lack of media literacy. As an educated person I believe I read and listen to accurate news. But… it occurred to me that others probably think their news sources are accurate and mine are not. I decided to test my bias. For several days now I’ve been watching a variety of Fox News programs and comparing them to my preferred news sources – NPR and the NYT. I wanted to see if biased news was as readily apparent to me as I presumed it would be.

The results were mixed. Some Fox News was pretty straight news. An interview with the Saudi Foreign minister seemed rational. I didn’t agree with everything but I could see how a reasonable listener could accept it as honest news. But then there were the news commentators like Hannity, Levin, and Ingraham. Surely their over the top sarcasm and exaggeration would be seen through by a thoughtful person. Of course on the other side are the left leaning comedians like Colbert, Oliver, and Meyers. I like them, but hey, they’re comedians. Should a news show be held to a higher standard because people assume it’s factual? I leave that for you to ponder.

SOLIDARITY: As I reviewed this week, however, I realized that I’m trying to be kind to those who live in my bubble or who are public figures. What about those millions of people who live with real poverty, hunger, or violence. How can I be kind to them? That brings me back to prayer. I wanted to put my prayer into action, I am not about to move to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Mali, Kenya, or North Korea and try to be a missionary (though I’ve been to each of these countries – well, N. Korea if you count the DMZ). But I could try to be in solidarity with those who suffer much more intensely than I do. I decided to make 3 minor sacrifices to unite myself with those who don’t have a choice.

  1. I skipped lunch for two days and plan to eat nothing on Good Friday. I won’t starve but I wanted to feel the hunger.
  2. I decided to walk to the pharmacy to pick up a Rx. I could have driven but I wanted to remember that not everyone has a car or easy access to medical care.
  3. Last Saturday I participated in our local March For Our Lives.

None of these actions will change the world – but they will change me. Each time I feel the hunger, get in my car, take a pill, phone my congressman, I will remember those who don’t have a choice.