Forgetting to Be Kind?

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, September 14, 2014

God is with you

Forgetting to Be Kind?

I like to talk to my friends, or members of my family, on the telephone. I really do! In fact, I have a sneaking feeling I am a bit old fashioned in this regard. Since—I see people all around me texting on their smart phones. I am very pleased and proud to say that I have never yet texted. I have a dumb phone. An older flip phone that I’ve had for years. (My husband and I have not had a cell phone contract for some years, either.)

However, I am bound by convention. The rules of common courtesy, the rules that say I will not call after a certain hour at night, or the rules that say I cannot call before a certain hour in the morning. True, these rules have a little wiggle room, but generally, I can’t call before 9:00 in the morning—8:30, if I push it. And in the afternoon? Or evening? That time is a bit more fluid. But—even still. I run into problems.

I want to highlight a really BIG problem. I keep forgetting to call my friends and family members—at a time fitting to common courtesy. I remember I want to make the calls at awkward times. In the very early morning or in the very late evening, for example.

Isn’t this so similar to my on-again, off-again relationship with God? Thank goodness, I have increased my personal prayer time, and increased my time in other spiritual direction exercises. However, I still fall short. I still keep forgetting to actually enjoy the relationship. (It’s a darned good thing that I do not have restrictions or barriers between God and me. Additional barriers would be quite difficult. Or problematic.)

Thank God I can depend on God—the almighty, omnipotent God. Instead of myself, instead of me and the forgetful nature of my brain, instead of the on-again, off-again relationship I have with human beings. And, thank God for the timely reminder to call people at a decent, sensible time. (As I’ve said many times before, God certainly has a wonderful sense of humor.)

@chaplaineliza

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Another Rainy Day—to Be Kind!

 

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, May 1, 2014

zinnia seeds - illustration from Blogspot

zinnia seeds – illustration from Blogspot

Another Rainy Day—to Be Kind!

Ever have someone give you a really great idea? So fantastic, that you pounce on it right away?

Today was another rainy, chilly spring day. Not your typical May 1st, to be sure. Not warm or sunny. Not very appealing for outside work, either. Good thing I spent most of the day in my office.

I had a good deal of computer work to be done. Being a pastorly-type person, I engaged in several conversations, and prayed with two people. I also happened to talk with several people today, in the course of doing business. There is one snag, though. Most of my business happens to be of the time-lapse variety. Very little of the business I transacted today was completed today. It will come to pass, over time.

To get back to my friend’s fantastic brainwave, I was very much struck by it. Practically fell all over myself to thank my friend. Implemented it. And, guess what? This idea is also of the time-lapse variety. So—even though one of my telephone conversations was super excellent, I won’t be able to track the outcome until later. Perhaps it will turn out to be much later.

I’m reminded of the seeds my mother had me plant, in our backyard. In the house where I grew up, on the northwest side of Chicago. When I was six and seven, and even eight, the idea of planting flower seeds seemed somehow magical to me. Plant the seeds in May. Wait. Wait. And wait some more. (Something I was never very good at. At least I have improved in the waiting department a little bit.)

It would take some weeks. Aha! I’d see little, green sprouts as I went out in back to check on my seeds! Time would pass—June would arrive, and school would end. I usually would have forgotten about my seeds until one day, later in June. I’d run out in the back yard, and the zinnia seeds would have magically changed to sturdy, green plants, in rows. The bigger ones in the back, smaller plants in front. And sometimes, depending on how the weather had been for the past few weeks, I could see little buds. That was so exciting! I loved seeing the colorful petals ready to unfold from all the green.

Patience! That’s what I need. Just like with the zinnia seeds. That’s what I need in these several situations I started today, too. Especially the fantastic idea I got from my good friend. I wonder whether the acquisition of patience is one of those things that sort of creeps up on you, gradually? Like seeing those zinnia plants finally standing in the soil, a couple of inches high?

Yup. I get the feeling, it’s God’s sense of humor again. God’s pleased with me, with my efforts to be kind to others. Just now, I’ve got to wait. And wait some more. It’s the zinnia seeds all over again. And God? I think You’re smiling right now.

@chaplaineliza

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Adventures in Plumbing!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, April 8, 2014

God handling my problems

Adventures in Plumbing!

Day Two of the bathroom facelift. Good thing I could be home most of the day. I was very helpful almost all day long. (The contractor said so!) I helped in various, small ways. Even helped him bring the sink/vanity up to our third floor unit (yes, a walk-up) and made a suggestion that really helped as he was deciding what to do about a small leak in the bathroom.

In fact, the contractor said his client (that’s me!) was wonderful. The rest of the day didn’t go so well. The contractor had difficulty with the faulty shut off valves under the bathroom sink AND in the basement of my condo building, so a plumber friend of his came over. Several hours—and much aggravation—later, we now have working shut off valves. Down side? The contractor is about a day behind in his estimated time to finish the bathroom.

God, there must be something in this continuing experience for me to learn. Some analogy, or learning experience. There is a car that usually is parked several blocks from my house with a bumper sticker in the rear. The sticker says: “Oh, no! Not another learning experience!”

Some days go like that. Even some months. Once in a while, whole years seem to go like that, too. Let me see. What can I learn, anyhow? Patience. I certainly saw where patience was necessary for both workers: easy does it. Perseverance. Stick to it. Work gradually: slow and steady wins the race. And mustn’t forget a sense of humor! Yeah, someone with a pessimistic, sourpuss attitude would not do very well with a situation like this. Probably get him/herself an ulcer, or turn into a chain smoker. Or something similar.

We can look on the positive side. We are all done with the valves. Now, we have working shut off valves. It is the second week of April! The weather and temperature are really pleasant outside. Unlike January and February in Chicago, when we were experiencing the occasional polar vortex and subzero temperatures. And, my contractor is a super nice guy! That makes it even easier to want to give him a hand when I can.

God, help me to give a hand where and when I’m able. I want to be helpful and encouraging, of course. And when I can make things easier (like when I helped bring up the vanity), even better! And thanks for reminding me to pray about this job. I know that with Your help, we have the best assistance of all.

@chaplaineliza

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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.

@chaplaineliza
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