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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Being Kind, Showing Love

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, February 1, 2014

Elizabeth's birthday cake Kevin Jones - photo

Elizabeth’s birthday cake
Kevin Jones – photo

Being Kind, Showing Love

Today is my birthday. “Hap-py birth-day to me!” I wouldn’t mention this except for the fact that my oldest daughter saved my birthday cake yesterday. She lives in the same suburb that the rest of our family lives in. She offered to take me out for a birthday dinner yesterday evening. But before we went to the restaurant, she noticed that something was the matter when I picked her up in the car. She frowned. “What’s up?” I tried to dismiss it, thinking that she and I didn’t need to rehash frustrating and irritating stuff, but she pressed me.

I finally came clean. “I baked a cake for myself this afternoon, and tried a new filling. Raspberry filling. I followed the directions, reduced the frozen raspberries and water on the stove, added the sugar, raspberry extract, and lemon juice. I removed it from the heat and let it cool, then added the corn starch in water. But it won’t set up. It’s still raspberry soup!” I communicated how disgruntled I was. We laughed, and then she commiserated with me. She asked what I wanted to do—just forget about the cake and go out to eat, or go and try to fix the filling and go out to eat later. I dithered for all of ten seconds, and then we went to my house to try our best on the filling.

Suffice it to say that together, we got the filling to jell. (We put it back on the heat.) We cooled it, put the filling between the cake layers, and then my daughter iced the cake (with my chocolate buttercream icing. Yum!) After that, she and I went out to a good, moderately-priced Italian bistro and pizza place. We got salad, baked potato and ribs (my choice—again, yum!) And afterwards, we went home for cake. (Yum, for the third time!) The—jelled—raspberry filling was perfect. All in all, a satisfying evening.

Through giving me a hand with the cake and coming to the rescue of the raspberry soup, my wonderful daughter showed great love to me. She was kind to me, intentionally. (Just what I am trying to do, each day in 2014.) I was so grateful! I told her so, several times, and gave her a few hugs. We all had cake and conversation. A wonderful, family way to end the evening, too.

As I reflected on this frustrating and irritating situation, my daughter was able to so easily redeem the filling (and my disgruntled temper, too!). Yes, it was a small thing. The filling of a cake that I did not need (in terms of calories), but she and I together were able to salvage and successfully ice and finish. This reminded me of situations where I was unable to complete certain tasks on my own at work, or in a ministry at church. But when one or two willing friends or co-workers came alongside of me and helped, the job was a piece of cake! (pun intended <grin>) I suspect that is exactly the lesson God wanted me to learn. God, do I hear You laughing? Not at me, but with me, of course. I think You are.

@chaplaineliza