“For it is in giving that we receive”- that’s from the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, and like the rest of the prayer it is equally wise and true.
Many people have been very kind to me both in big ways, like the gentleman who said, “Of course I’ll take a big amount off the asking price of the house.” He did it out of kindness, helping a younger me buy my first house, but it was also reciprocal because I had offered to take the house with the existing tenants so he could leave three months sooner to join his family in Calgary. A small kindness on my part was returned in spades.
And people have also been kind in little ways like the patient at the Cross Cancer Institute who gave me a set of sock slippers, because as a new patient I hadn’t thought of bringing a pair. I try to return the kindness by carrying extra gloves in the winter for someone without. I have to admit I find it easier to be kind when things are going well in my life than when I am wrapped up in my own pain.
Simply making a conscious choice to fill one’s heart with love is really on of the surest way to happiness. And, in that state of love, kindness and gratitude doing random acts of kindness comes naturally. Sometimes the act takes the form of a helpful word. A wise friend once told me that before I open my mouth i should ask myself, “is it kind, is it thoughtful, is it necessary?” I’m not naturally inclined to be succinct so I wasn’t sure about the part of “necessary,” but the wise man who told me this was a man of few words. The offshoot of that was that in his silence there was room for the other person to speak. It tends to be true that the more a person will listen to us in a kind and judgment-free way, the closer we feel to them. Unintended positive consequences. I challenge us all to look for opportunities to be kind to someone who needs it, and even to those who look like they don’t need it, because you never know what is going on with people.
Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.