Being Kind, and More Adventures in Dentistry

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, June 17, 2014

BK show more kindness than necessary

Being Kind, and More Adventures in Dentistry

There I was, having a snack on Sunday afternoon. Suddenly—I felt something hard in my mouth. And part of my molar was gone. Cracked. I felt the jagged edge with my tongue and took in a deep breath. Breathed out the sigh of frustration. I needed this like I needed another hole in my head. (Upon reflection, I suppose that’s pretty much what it is. Another hole, I mean.)

The dentist’s assistant and I talked yesterday, and I found out that I could have the first appointment on Wednesday morning. Thank goodness I have a responsive dentist! He was gone over the weekend, but will be back tomorrow. So, bright and early, I have the first appointment in his office. And, I am—almost—filled with trepidation to find out what are the next steps he suggests for this lower molar.

Today was rather challenging for me. Not too much, since I don’t want people to think my cracked tooth is causing a great, big hole in my mouth. But, it is rubbing a little sore in my tongue. Irritating, and bothersome. So much so, that I am speaking as if I had a slight speech impediment now. Since about the middle of the morning.

I reflected on my practice of being kind, as I sat in the office today. As I thought, I found I was concentrating so much on being kind to others. I don’t often sit back and allow others to be kind to me. Not to get all introspective or anything, but taking care of myself is important, too! The dentist’s assistant was very kind and understanding as she put me down for a special visit tomorrow—the earliest of the day, too.

This train of thought led me on. What other things am I neglecting in my life? How can others be helpful to me? And, how else could I be kind to myself?

I know, from my years of working as a chaplain, how valuable being kind to myself could be. Except, I call it “self-care.” I know that this practice is getting a lot of press now, especially since those in the helping professions are increasingly finding regular self-care to be a necessity.

Now that I’m talking about it, I can see how Jesus practiced self-care in His life, during His ministry. He would withdraw on a regular basis. Go away by Himself and be alone. Pray. I suspect He was resting and recharging His batteries (metaphorically speaking, of course—especially since batteries were not invented until 1800).

I ought to follow His excellent example and take time for myself. Be kind to myself. Follow good practices of self-care. Good idea, O Lord! Thanks.

@chaplaineliza

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Helpful, Visiting in a Hospital

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, June 9, 2014

hospital drawing

hospital drawing

Helpful, Visiting in a Hospital

I received a phone call several days ago. I found out that a good friend of mine was in the hospital. I wanted to go and see my friend, but I had a bad cold. I didn’t want to sneeze and drip all over the place, so I just didn’t visit until I felt better.

When I was working as a chaplain at a hospital, I was very much aware that I needed to be in good health when seeing patients. So, I did my best to stay that way. Not only prudent, but a good idea, too!

It made me really sad to have to wait to see my friend, but I had other things I needed to accomplish over the past few days. I felt better on Saturday, and the Blessing of the Animals was scheduled for that morning. (I wrote about it, two days ago.) I had a number of other necessary things to do that afternoon and evening, and couldn’t go visit at the hospital—until today. It was wonderful to see my friend! We talked for quite some time, and we prayed together before I left. I think I was an encouragement to my friend. I certainly hope so.

Until tonight, I forgot completely about the verse I chose for the month of June – Matthew 5:16. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Wow. This kind deed I did today qualifies. I hadn’t thought about it that way before, but visiting sick people is something that would please God. And by extension, when others see my good, kind deed, they will be able to glorify my Heavenly Father (or, Parent).

There is one big caveat. If I have twisted motives or the wrong attitude, I don’t think God would want people to notice the deeds I did. For example, if I was like a Pharisee, I’d be all puffed up, showing off my self-righteous attitude. (Oversized, egotistical . . . ) You can bet God would turn His back on me in a big hurry, too. I’d be a big phony! I might be able to fool a few people for a while, but sooner or later they would figure me out. Me and my holier-than-thou, phony self.

On the other hand, if I act with some humility and graciousness, I think God would be very pleased with any good deeds I accomplished in God’s name. Then, when others see my good, kind, helpful deeds, they would certainly be able to glorify my Heavenly Father. (or, Parent)

Dear God, thanks for the opportunity to make the day brighter for my friend in the hospital. And, I pray that my attitude and actions will continue to be pleasing to You, too!

@chaplaineliza

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Serving By Choosing Books

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, April 23, 2014

kidsbookopener

Serving By Choosing Books

For those of you who don’t know, I have four children. My youngest child just turned seventeen years old today. So, I can still remember those days of diapers and bottles, teething and banged-up knees. It’s just those days are getting further and further away. But I still remember, and as I revisit those days, I find I still enjoy being with small children. Happy for me, since there is a preschool onsite at my new job.

Yes, I am a mom. This was the way I used to describe myself. Up until a dozen years ago, that was the primary activity or purpose I used to associate with me. In fact, on occasion, when I’d go to parties or get-togethers at my older sister’s fancy house, her friends and acquaintances would sometimes ask me, “And what do you do?” Truthfully enough, I would be somewhat embarrassed. My answer would usually be, “My sister—and my older siblings? They have advanced degrees. I have children.” I’d say this in a humorous tone, and the people who asked me would often laugh.

But not any more. A dozen years ago, I started a master’s degree program, and three years later I received a master’s in divinity degree. Since then, I have had exciting and interesting experiences in the church, in hospitals and care centers, and at inpatient detox units and rehab centers.

However—I am still a mom. I still love my children very much, even though God has led me through a variety of challenging experiences. Now, in my current position as interim co-pastor, I find I have the opportunity to interact with preschoolers and kindergarten children each week. I read to two of the rooms of children yesterday. I was surprised to see that there were not too many books for the children to read. Of course, I tried to choose the very best of what was there. And I enjoyed being with the children, a great deal! That was the most important thing, of course.

This evening, I took the opportunity to go to a local library in the next town. They have a lovely used book area, where the Friends of the Library sell gently used books for only a small amount of money. This way, the library gets some badly needed money, people get really nice books, and the cost is really quite economical.

I went to the children’s section of the book area. I haven’t looked extensively at children’s picture books for some years. Such colorful, interesting books! I chose eleven (only fifty cents apiece!), and I’ll be more than happy to present them to the preschool director tomorrow, when I go to the church to work. I suspect the children—and the teachers—will be very pleased to have a fresh supply of books.

Yay, God! Thanks for the good idea, to go to such a place and get books. I’m so excited! I can hardly wait to see the faces of the boys and girls. It’s so wonderful to be able to bring a happy surprise with me.

@chaplaineliza

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