Wow! Be Present, Be Kind

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, April 1, 2014

never forget how you made people feel

Wow! Be Present, Be Kind

Here we are at April 1st. I was sort of thinking of writing an April Fool’s Day blog post, but I nixed that idea. Instead, I wanted to continue with documenting my intentional service to others today. Besides, one fourth of the year has passed already. It’s amazing that I have found service opportunities to post about, each day of the year so far.

These past three months have been different. I mean, for the past few years, I’ve been concerned with—myself, with the inner “me.” But since I have been actively looking—searching—for some kind of intentional kindness I can get involved in, it seems my life has changed. Altered. Not markedly, but definitely. When I step back and consider how I’m doing and how I am getting there (wherever that is!), I shake my head in disbelief and amusement. God has some sense of humor!

Today, I had the opportunity to sit in on a get-together. Some friends of mine had started already, and I arrived a little late. But that was okay! I still felt quite comfortable, and everyone was very welcoming. However, being late to the event caused me to be a little shy. Quiet. I did actively listen, though! I have spoken here before, about being a “professional listener.” That’s a large part of working as a chaplain—listening. And, being present with people, with my less-anxious, gentle attitude and atmosphere. In retrospect, I suppose I acted as a chaplain with my friends. Or, is it a gentle, caring listener, instead?

Even though I’ve changed my focus with the change in my job, I’m still involved in pastoral care. So, I am still listening. (Professionally speaking, of course.) This reminds me of my totally awesome chaplain supervisor, Chaplain Peter. He is (and has been, for a number of years) the intern supervisor and Manager of Pastoral Services at a large hospital in downtown Chicago. His manner of being with people and listening to them with such attentiveness still amazes me—and this memory comes from many months ago. (I want to be like Chaplain Peter when I grow up!)

After the get-together this morning broke up, one of my friends asked my opinion on some things that were talked about. I was glad to put my two-cents’-worth in. And, I showed that I had been listening intently. Actively. I showed the gathering my caring and love, for sure, even though I spoke very little.

Sometimes, it’s not necessary to talk, talk, talk. Empty chatter is just that—empty and not worth very much at all. As Chaplain Peter has shown me time and again, a kind, gentle, quiet presence can be felt deeply. And, appreciated, too! What a way to be kind. What a way to be of service.

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