October 21, 2014

A Different View of Kindness

My dad recently had heart surgery. It was successful and he's healing beautifully. Yet those days at Mayo Clinic were intense--long hours, rolling emotions, and bedside caretaking. Amid the intensity, I still noticed kindness. The hotel worker who warmly checked me in. The locals who smiled and said, "hello." The nurse who found me black pepper for dad's dinner. 

In the words of Mary Webb: "If you stop to be kind, you must swerve often from your path." Kindness comes in different flavors. Most of us prefer not to swerve from our path. We don't like changing our schedules or plans. We want to be kind while we hold our course. I love Webb's quote because it shakes me up. It re-frames life. The kindness I practice is often convenient. Here's the real question: do I choose kindness when the action takes me out of my way? (Sometimes, not always.) And when I make that choice, does kindness remain or does it shift to annoyance? (Depends.)

I want to be truly kind. I want to swerve, always. The swerves are great teachers. When I'm my best self, I remember. Other times I forget. But now I'm curious. And curiosity leads to growth; curiosity leads to new paths.


  1. So glad to hear you dad is doing well, Joy! :)

    1. thank you! he's doing really, really well. i admire my dad in many ways, including his strength of body, mind, and spirit.