Friday, December 5, 2008

Wanted: Kindness

I don't know if anyone else does this but for as long as I can remember, I've had this tendency to think in headlines. I'll give some examples:

My brother and I were playing in my gma's backyard one day and we made up a silly story about a giant spider that attacked the city (yes, we did in fact watch Saturday afternoon Sci-Fi theater, and all the King Kong/Godzilla movies). From that moment on (until this very day, actually) that memory is classified under "Giant Hairy Beast Eats The City!" in my memory banks. There are plenty of headlines just like that one. There's the "Barefoot Pineapple Summer" headline/memory, and then there's the "Grandpa's Pea Green Oldsmobile and Little Trees" healine as well. Those are just a couple from the past that come to mind. But I think this way as it pertains to current happenings as well. Things that stand out to me that I've heard, or read or thought throughout the course of the day. Such as; "Seeing Dead People", "Roadside Freakshow" and "Don't MAKE Me Say This". All things that apply to current situations and/or circumstances that just sort of get filed into headline status. Sometimes I write them down, sometimes I don't even bother. I guess you could say I was maybe pre-programmed to blog, since I'm never at a loss for a headline. I dunno, maybe that's pushing it.

In any case, as I look through the headlines I've written down that I want to dig deeper into at later time, I often come back to them and think "pfft, waste of time" and just delete them. I have a whole pile of stuff like that, some of which has been sitting around for ages, and I still haven't found the time or the right way to dig into it. I'm looking at this list now, and I already know some of those things I will probably never get to, and that's okay too, I suppose.

As I looked over this list today I thought to myself "what is the benefit for anyone, in writing about this" as I skimmed each headline. Some are just plain funny, and will prolly make someone laugh, assuming I ever get around to expanding them out and actually posting them. Others are in my SnarkFest category that I could probably address in a gracious way but may not look so gracious by themselves, as headlines. Others are doctrinal, theological, and/or the kind of practical Christian living stuff that just about every Christian person deals with, in some way.

For me (and I don't dare speak for anyone else on this), part of Christian blogging is a.) expressing my faith in my writing and b.) using the vehicle to genuinely matter, for someone. True, honest, Biblical edification, ya know? There are lots of other functions and purposes of Christian blogging, but those are the top two, I think. For that cause, I generally want to write about things that encourage folks but at the same time keep it real. I don't wan't someone to come along who's never been here before and who is also struggling with some kind of monumental issue and read me say some fluffy junk that doesn't really apply or doesn't honestly address that kind of situation. I want them to know that I know life can sometimes be REALLY stinking hard, and yes, it hurts REAL bad. I want them to know that YES, there are other Christian moms that go through painfully difficult things with their kids. Not only to know that, but to read how at least one of those Christian moms deals with that, and what gets HER through the hard stuff. I don't want to be a critical, condemning, depressing blogger that never has anything good to say about anyone, but finds pesky, nit-picky things to say about just about everyone, all the time. I am a very skeptical and critical and sarcastic personality, so that's not always so easy to pull off, either.

So as I looked over that list of headlines today, and gave lots of thought over the past several weeks to all sorts of things that I'm dealing with on a personal level, and as our focus this week in our Bible course in school has been on kindness, and why it's critical to Christian living, that's the theme that would not let me go.

It's rather easy to be unkind. All it really takes is a pinch of apathy and there you go. I think sometimes silence speaks volumes, especially if what you desperately needed at that moment was a word of hope, but instead just got silence. Christians have no business ever being apathetic, if we truly believe Galatians 6:2 and the many other verses that tell us we're to be helpful and compassionate towards others. If you were to try even harder and actually go out of your way to say unhelpful or needlessly critical things, that unkindness gets even uglier and is usually quite memorable for the one it was aimed at. The tough thing is, you don't even really have to try all that hard to BE unkind - since it comes naturally to fallen man to be that way. What does not come naturally is compassion, and encouragement, and being a helpful, gentle source of restoration and edification. No sir, that kind of treatment does not come naturally, and it's something you have to purpose set OUT to do, and to be. This is something we discussed in school this week and it's still amazing to me the longer I teach, the more I still learn myself. As I'm reading the words in the lessons on kindness they were piercing my own heart, and I was only hoping that they were having the same affect on the kids.

I've had the opportunity recently to ask myself in several unrelated situations "what is truly needed right now?" and the answer kept coming back to kindness. When I opened the Bible lesson book for this week, and saw that the focus was kindness, I laughed outloud and thought "okay Lord, I get it." Being that source of kindness for whoever happens to need it at the moment, isn't all that easy, especially when you're just itchin' to say something or react in a way that isn't so kind, but it's SO worth it, and so important. It's also something I need a lot more schooling in, so I can only assume the Lord will be most gracious to orchestrate more cirumstances where this is required of me. He's really good at doing things like that, and I'm glad for it.

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