It works for everyone
It's not a secret. I love Jesus wholeheartedly and try live my life, as integrally as I can, in light of that. That being said, sometimes Christians really bug me. We occasionally claim something as being entirely our domain when it does belong to and function for everyone. Take kindness, for instance.
My kindness story.
As disclaimer before I begin. I loved my parents dearly. For all of their faults, they were good people, Sick perhaps but not evil.
I am a child of Alcohol and Abuse and Neglect. My father was a violent alcoholic, my mother was depressed and played a victim role very well. My parent's parent's before them for generations I am sure, created a normalcy of violence and abuse. It was just the way it was.
I was tiny and most likely dirty too, my hair was unkept and my teeth were unbrushed. My clothes did not fit and were often unmended. I probably did not smell so good. I was bullied at school. I was the flea bag (remember the flea bag? We all do, even if we don't want to admit it.) My life was a living Hell but seriously I didn't know any different.
My Oldest brother died of Alcoholism. My next older brother is on his way there too. By all accounts and statistically I should be in the same boat. I am not. I lead a rich and full life, have a great career and a wonderful family.
Mrs F., the lady down the street, took me under her wing and as a result I got to see how a functioning family worked. She was/is a kind woman. I was able to be at her house as much as I wanted to be. I had chores, and by watching the respect that the people in her family showed each other I was able to copy that behaviour. Her firmness and discipline came out of a place of deep kindness and respect.
We moved away from Mrs F. when I was 10. I watched as my sister and my parents fought and she moved in with her abusive boyfriend, who she would later marry and who would eventually make her life unbearably miserable.
I Isolated myself in my own little world and through school met a few friends, One in particular who was brave enough to tell me that I needed to brush my teeth and wash my hair. She literally showed me how to find clothes that would fit, how to run the washer and dryer. My circle of friends grew and they forced me to learn how to order at MacDonald's, which doesn't sound like that big a deal unless you are so afraid all of the time that you cannot function. My friends did this out of kindness. My friends were kind. I don't know how I would have made it through adolescence without them.
Then there were the teachers who made a difference in my life.
Mr G. my music teacher who once again with firmness and respect demanded the best from me. He had faith in me and in my talent, made me believe, truly believe that I was talented and smart. With a firmness based in kindness He told me to “suit up and show up, keep at it, your dreams are worth it and you are worthy.” His kindness no less than saved my life.
Mrs. G. my grade 10 social studies teacher who looked the bullies in the eye and told them 'enough' I was safe in her classroom and excelled academically for the first time in my life.
Mr. W. whose class I showed up to because the above mentioned teachers made me feel I could do anything I wanted to do. When I darkened the door of his A stream English class – which was WAY over my head - he made me feel welcome. Never once belittled me for my lack of grammar and inability to put a sentence together let alone spell. He talked to me privately and lent me basic english text books to use on my own time. He DID make my C+ at the end of term feel like the Order of
Canada! He allowed me to do homework for other classes while our class was having discussions (ADD does have an upside) so I didn't have to fall behind because goodness knows the course load in his class was something that I was surely not used to.
There is the kindness from two of my friends, L. and M. whom I recruited to join me in this English class so that I would not be alone. We discovered the English Language together, the three of us, with Mr. W.'s help
The kindness of my Husband. Ahhh, the kindness of my husband. I remember being with his bickering family for the first time and being so afraid and he put his hand on my back and whispered in my ear “Nobody is going to hit anybody” Those were the most magnificent words I had ever heard.
The kindness of people changed the course of my life! The odds say I should not be where I am today. I would not be here if it had not been through the kindness of others. I try to pass this kindness on in the work that I do and in my every day dealings.
Yes the world is full of evil, we can choose to dwell on that and throw our arms up in the air and say 'whatever' but I choose not to. I choose to be kind.
And by the way, for information's sake, I am an atheist just in case anyone was wondering.