Thursday, April 30, 2009


I was in a situation today where someone spoke to me very gently, very kindly. I'm sure it was just a case of this person being very kind to begin with, but it made an impression on me. And it reminded me to be gentle with others.

Sometimes we all have the opportunity to be extra kind. In that moment when we're extending ourselves in kindness we become a little more, bigger and better than we were just a moment earlier. How many chances do we have to be more? To embrace the best of ourselves? These opportunities are gifts, delivered without brightly colored paper or ribbons and bows, but precious nonetheless.

I have squandered hundreds, probably thousands, of chances to be kind to people. In fact, I know I have even been unkind at times when a gracious word or gesture would have been meaningful. Why do we act this way? Or, more accurately, why do I act this way? Is it only me who doesn't take every chance to be kind? It often requires very little, or no, extra effort. Is part of me unwilling or afraid or what?

Sometimes in our work lives we have the chance to go the extra mile for someone, to go a step beyond the norm, and make their lives easier. In my work I often find myself unable to help people as much as I'd like because I run up against a system I can't penetrate. Unfortunately, I know they can't penetrate it either. Until they find someone who will go the extra mile for them.

Sometimes I'm the tiniest bit jealous that I'm not part of that system and therefore can't go the extra mile to help them with it. I have to have faith that someone else will seize the opportunity to go beyond the norm.

I've been the recipient of much grace. Much kindness. I hope I can remember to extend it to others.


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