“When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel
Last week I had surgery for a total hip replacement. That has been a long time coming and I can now tell I have parts that move the way they are supposed to. It’s fantastic.
In these past few days I have been absolutely overwhelmed by kindness and care from so many. At the top of that list are my husband, my child, and my friend Alison, who flew across the country to take care of all of us. And then there is the congregation, and my family, and the school moms, and pastors I’ve never met who’ve held me in their prayers, and old friends around the country who have emailed and texted and messaged, who have baked muffins and sent cards and flowers and chocolate, because they know me well.
I am grateful, too, to the hospital staff. There they were, taking my vitals, checking in on me, telling me it would be okay when my blood pressure plummeted, putting on the helpful/unsexy white support knee socks, encouraging me through all that initial discomfort and pain, waking me up through the night as they did their job.
You could say that all those hospital people get paid to be kind and caring. That’s true. As a pastor I know that because, in a sense, we get paid to be kind. It’s a big part of our job.
But what if it were everyone’s job to be kind? What if kindness were the true measure of our worth, and not our social status or our bank account? Wouldn’t that be something?
Kindness is there but it’s usually so small that it gets overshadowed by all that’s loud and angry and grumpy. I’m not sure kindness really works on the grand scale but I know it does on the small scale: helping someone get dressed or making a cup of tea. Bringing a magazine with Benedict Cumberbatch on the cover, and another with the newest, best restaurants. Staying away can be kind; so can stopping by.
Once I’m up and around I’m going to spend more time on the small kindnesses. I can’t fix the world. Hell, I can’t walk without a walker and good meds at this point. But I can be kind, and I will.