Kindness…

Something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

It’s also been a while since I’ve blogged. Life has been taking twists and turns with me and mine for the past few weeks. Things that just bring you down, and I’m not quite ready to get them out of my system. Some more mulling over is required. but me and C are still on track – I am indeed blessed.

I digress.

Kindness. That thing you are asked to do. The pay it forward situation. Do a single act of kindness every day and by the end of the year you would have made a change in 365 people’s lives.

Sure. Be kind. I’ve been kind. I probably will again – it’s something that you just do.

Alas. I’ve been bitten in the arse by my kindness. Big time. The HG really shook my kindness foundation to the core. So much so that I will from now on only pay somebody a kindness as long as I won’t see them again because, let’s face it. The people you do a kindness for and to are usually the kind of people that would need that same kindness again tomorrow or the next day or the next week. Very seldom do you get the chance to make the gesture of kindness to somebody that only needs it at that point in time, and never will again. Those acts, I think, carry the most weight in the kindness scheme of things.

And there-in lies the rub.

Those situations, the ones where a random act of kindness will really make the difference between life and death, but will not become a bottomless pit are few and far between.

You’re more likely to see the same beggar at the same robot every day. Same expression on their faces, same clothes, same feelings of shame created in you for not taking out whatever money you have in your purse and giving it to them. More likely to see the same unemployed woman with the string of kids, walking down the street, half-drunk and looking for more money to fill her next splurge.

and then you get the other side of the spectrum. People that go above and beyond themselves to help somebody in need and then being chastised for their help. I’ve heard of an instance where the guy saved the woman out of a car that was in the process of being swept away in flood waters. He broke her arm, but he saved her life. Did he get a thank you? Nope. He got sued because of the broken arm. Is that guy going to do something like that again? Probably not. Maybe he will, and the next time he will get a grateful person instead of a useless oxygen thief. maybe he won’t.

Should you just be kind regardless? Of course, you should not be kind to get anything out of the deal. Huge amounts of gratitude is not why you should be kind. You should be kind just  because you’re in a better position than the person needing the kindness. Because you are able to do something to lessen their woes. Invariably though, if you give money to the same beggar every day, and their thanks are always profuse, you start thinking that they must have practiced that little line once too often. I’ve given food and money to the same beggar a few days in a row and this person did not even remember my face. He just stood there, waiting for his hand-outs. Which kind of irked me because the darkie dude that always wants me to buy something from him, yet I never did, would always have a smile and a “Hello” and a passing of the time. Even him I’ve helped with a bit of cash here and there or a smoke sometimes. That’s the kind of kindness I can support. It creates a mutual give and take between people, making the world a better place for both of them. Not so the all out beggars though. They are just there to take whatever they can get, without thinking of giving something back even if it’s just a greeting, even if you don’t get anything. I know you’re not really going to buy food with that money. What you do with it though, is not my problem. Or is it? Do I rather give the drunk a sandwich that he’s in any case not going to eat? Or do I give him a few bucks, knowing that he’ll be running off to the closest bottle store to get his fix? Am I really being kind to him in doing that?

But if you think of it like that –  What needs to happen, will. If that person insists on drinking himself into a grave, nothing you do can stop it. He’s just going to change spots if he does not get custom at this particular spot.

Today, I resolved that I will put my leftover lunch in a bag that I can hand out at the first place I see a beggar. My mom’s bible study group has this thing that they must make 2 sandwiches – one to hand out on their way to bible study and one to hand out on their way back home. It’s what they do to try and make a difference in the world we live in. and I have no issue handing out food to people that needs it. But even there something halts me.

One of the things I have a daily struggle with. If you get anything too easy, you will never appreciate it. Lots of people in the suck heap don’t have jobs. And even less hope of finding jobs. They live off hand outs from the private sector and grants from the government. suffice to say we have a lot of beggars – of all colours and shapes and sexes. But in me giving them whatever I have on hand is only prolonging the situation of gimme, gimme, gimme…

Kindness. it exists in many guises. But they all have the same outcome. When you do a kindness to another person, do it because you can. and not because that person deserves it or because you will get praise. Do it because, in all the randoms acts that will just fill the never ending black hole of society, just one of them will make an actual difference in a person’s life. In one of those random acts, you will restore another human being’s faith in humanity. And maybe, just maybe, The Universe will take note. And it will know you were kind when there were no rewards to be had. That you gave even when you could not really afford to give. That you were kind just because you were kind. and then the Universe might just repay you with kindness returned manifold.

Gratitude is key. Being thankful for what you have and the position you’re in, enabling you to do a random act of kindness is also an act of gratitude.

To end with. Be kind. As often as you are able. It’s your way of saying thank you to the Universe. And, as you know, good manners cost nothing 😉

May your days be long upon the earth…

 

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10 comments on “Kindness…

  1. All you can do is figure out the best way to help and forge ahead. You cannot always analyze every situation but a lot of them you can. I’ve been burned in this process and am not as willing to hand out like I used to. You just do the best you can. 🙂

  2. A large percentage of homeless people are there because they have psychiatric issues that require professional help. I’ve also come across beggars who have the equivalent of a business manager sitting in a posh car around a corner to pick them up after they’ve worked a street.
    I do hear what you’re saying. Helping a beggar requires discernment, bravery, and common sense. If they’re high on something, stinking of booze, or ranting at imaginary voices, then there’s very little you can do. And inviting random strangers into your house is dodgy at the very least.
    It’s an ethical nightmare. I think one must never give up on kindness, but sometimes it’s kinder to walk away from a person than get involved and then find yourself out of our depths, yet we all have done it — me included.

    • Sarah, you wrote well of this dilemma. Quoted you in my follow up post to Jayce’s. Thank you – to be sure, I posted a link to your site as well. Nice site!

      • What I like about Jaycee’s site is that she not afraid to grapple with very difficult issues and speak out about them.

        It is a dilemma indeed about who’s the most qualified to look after homeless people. But the first question must always be, “Why are they homeless?”

        I used to work as a psychiatric nurse in the days when there huge institutions which, in my opinion, were a better option for people than under-funded care in the community. In my hospital finals I condemned the closing down of the institutions and spoke out against care in the community because I didn’t think it would work. Most of what I said at the time has come to pass. The hospital finals were marked internally, so my tutor gave me 90% for my answer, but he warned me not to express any views of that kind in my state finals, as they’d fail me.

  3. Sarahpotterwrites has just reminded me of a an interaction I had – still has me smiling – thank you, Sarah for the memory and inspiration. P.S. I thought this so good, J, I reblogged it. Thanks, Woman!

  4. Jaycee, this is a wonderful post and speaks volumes for the type of person you truly are. A few years ago there was a movie called “Pay it Forward” Kevin Spacey was one of the stars, and in essence it was about doing random acts of kindness. But doing them for the right reasons. I believe you have done a great job of earmarking some of the reaons for random acts of kindness. When I look back over my own lifetime I’d like to think I have done a couple such acts, but being honest I have done some because it suited me to be kind at the moment. Not the purest of thoughts or actions. but I think I am getting better. Please take care, Bill.

  5. “Gratitude is key. Being thankful for what you have and the position you’re in, enabling you to do a random act of kindness is also an act of gratitude.” This resonates with me. So true! To whom much is given, much is required.

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