Kindness

My adult daughter is emotionally fragile. Life for her, and therefore for us, can be challenging.

Recently she went through a time where we didn’t know where she was. Thankfully she is getting the care she needs. But in the course of this episode, Sid and I needed to attend to the collateral damage that results when these times occur.

Last week we were able (through HaShem’s ministering angels) to easily find out where her car was so that we could tend to it before it got towed. There we were at 1 AM trying to get it started. I watched as Sid time and again would try different approaches, or just wait the seemingly endless minutes between tries to hope the battery would be able to sufficiently charge. Then there were the multiple calls to roadside assistance for a tow, additional issues regarding towing since the car wouldn’t shift into neutral, one hurdle after another. But after all the seemingly wasted efforts to start the car, with answered prayer Sid was somehow (thank you, HaShem) able to get the engine to turn over and to drive the vehicle to the local repair shop.

Each time there was a setback, Sid would calmly go into my daughter’s car, every time with endless patience, and with kind words to me so greatly appreciated in a situation that easily could have been handled painfully differently. No doubt HaShem’s heart for a mother’s breaking one was being transmitted through Sid to me as well.

I do not take such loving patience and kind treatment for granted. I know what it’s like to be in a relationship when this virtue is absent. It’s not so difficult to be nice when life is easy. The true test of one’s ability to love another meaningfully is demonstrated when he or she can be kind when the going gets rough. And it is at those times that the recipient of the love feels its depth all the more.

Being kind to another is the outworking of HaShem’s love of us. We say that God loves us. But how that has skin on it is demonstrated by how we treat others. And the more we are able to love another when the circumstances are hard, the deeper the love permeates, the more powerful, yet poignant, it feels. For it is at those trying times, when seemingly beyond human abilities to cope, that one can feel this love must be from HaShem.

How horrible the situation when Yeshua was on the cross, and yet He could say at that moment, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Such acts of profound love, a Father sacrificing His Son and He loving us when so afflicted are the Way we can live in Him. The more we are able to love another when doing so is hard, the more we walk in His likeness just as Yeshua walks in our steps with us, an inextricable circle of love.

When we experience kindness we are moved to respond in kind(ness), for our hearts feel His love which is inexplicable given the situation. If our Abba who is perfect can love us with all of our flaws and foibles, how much moreso should we, person to person, be able to love each other. We are able to give as we have received. Our softened hearts reciprocate the love to another, and he or she to another, and so it goes . . .

This week I encourage you to cultivate kindness – respond with words of love to those teenage children’s snarky comments, don’t forget the “please” and “thank yous” no matter how tired you feel – they are not just words. They are ways we communicate that set the tone, and therefore the perceptions, and receptions, in our interactions with others. Smile with understanding to the myriad of your children’s repetitive demands, listen as if for the first time to an elderly parent’s request, help another with peace in your heart rather than expectation, recognize another’s limitations and accept without judgment. For as we share kindness toward another, we receive a taste of divine love.

Shabbat shalom.
Diane

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