KINDNESS IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE by Rector Chris Girata
KINDNESS IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE was published in the Katy Trail Weekly, "The Good Word" Column, April 23, 2021
Chris Girata is the Rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, TX.
The Dalai Lama once said, "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." This well-known quote came to mind when I considered the deep desire that so many have for someone to show they care. The idea that we can care deeply for one another by showing kindness is perhaps the most helpful, effective, humane advice one can give to another. And yet, we struggle to keep that simple idea front and center in our daily actions. Kindness might seem vague, not unlike useless descriptors like "nice." But I want to make the argument that kindness is quite clear.
What I hear most often expressed, either explicitly or implicitly, is the need for care.
First, kindness begins as a feeling. Far too many of us are heady, intellectual people who have learned not to feel too much. However, kindness must begin inside us as a desire to show sympathy and care toward others. When we feel care toward others, when we have an emotional response to whatever someone else is doing or feeling, we can then make the choice to act on those feelings.
That takes us to the next step: kindness is defined by action. One cannot be kind when one does not take action. The definition of kindness is rooted in a sense of benevolence, the expression of good will. Engaging with the world around us, especially with the people around us, is necessary in order to be kind.
It might be easy to assume that engagement is obvious, but before the pandemic, I witnessed people ignoring others far too often and too easily. Now, having been physically separated from one another for more than a year, engagement cannot be taken for granted. As we rediscover one another, we have the choice to engage with one another, and I hope we choose to reteach ourselves to connect with those around us. The good news is that connection, the desire to care for others, can be small.
As we rediscover one another, we have the choice to engage with one another, and I hope we choose to reteach ourselves to connect with those around us.
I recently read a series of short stories on kindness in the New York Times and one man’s story caught my attention. He wrote, "I have a balance problem after an operation on a brain aneurysm affected my ability to do certain things like bending or looking sideways. One day while walking with a stick through the city, I realized that my shoelace was undone. I just kept walking. Suddenly a young woman stopped. 'Hey,' she said, 'your shoelace is undone. Here, let me do it up in case you trip.' She tied the shoelace, smiled and walked on."
Many people feel lonely and unloved, perhaps even you. Although feelings of disconnection and loneliness are complex and take time to address, kindness can make a big impact right away. Each day, we choose how we will treat others in the world. I hope that today you will let your guard down just a little, being more aware of those around you who are hungry for connection, and choose to be kind whenever possible because it’s always possible.
"The Good Word" Column is published bi-weekly, and can be picked up at the Saint Michael South Entrance.
Tags: Blog & Newsroom