I hoard kindness like a skilled card player – I put on my poker face and keep it close to my chest. I play my other cards more freely – sarcasm, whit, frustration, outrage, bias, indifference – I throw them out there whenever I want. But kindness needs to be played more strategically; when you play that card says a lot about you:
Play the kindness-card too soon, you’re too nice/boring/desperate. Play it at the wrong time, you've overstepped your boundaries. Play it too often, you’re clearly naive. Play it on the wrong person, you’re stupid. Play it on the undeserving, you’re gullible. Play it on a foe, you’re a coward.
Why? Why would I allow all my insecurities, prejudices and preconceived notions hinder me from simply being kind? Why would I stop myself from even smiling and saying hello to someone? At the end of it all am I going to rip the kindness card from my grip, hold it up high and declare, “Look! Look how much kindness I saved until the end!”? Certainly not. No, I will regret all the chances for kindness I missed and all the times I was outright unkind.
I knew there’d be a Bible verse on kindness, since that was kind of Jesus’ thing. So, even though I am not the bible-versing type, I decided to Google it. The verse I like best actually comes from the Old Testament, Proverbs 3:3 (being wise was Solomon’s thing):
“Don't ever forget kindness and truth. Wear them like a necklace. Write them on your heart as if on a tablet.”
The signature line of an email I received recently contained a quote:
“Be kinder than necessary…”
What wise words! What a wonderful way to live. Not just be kind – but be kinder than necessary.
I think I feel a new mantra coming on….