Kindness they say, can be a fault.
There is some measure of kindness in all of us, some greater than others, simply because they dare to exercise it like a muscle, at the risk of getting their heart ripped out. But like the commercial goes: “No pain, no gain”.
Without realizing it, my friend has actually been living life on that basis. She is such a kind soul that often times, people think that she is simply too nice or probably simply naïve.
In a world that can be as harsh as it is brutal, I must say that being a little naïve can help good Samaritans go a long way. Being a person of abiding faith, stirs her to go on caring when others would walk away with indifference.
So it shocked me when my friend decided to throw in the towel. She simply had, had enough disappointments and too much frustration because a friend she cared for, acted like the canine example in the Bible about the dog that kept coming back to its vomit.
Yes she cared for her friend and yes she believed that her friend could pull herself together, but instead the friend habitually went back and repeated her past mistakes and going through the same pain and shame of an abusive relationship.
We all have that kind of “friend” or perhaps even a relative or immediate family.
It can be someone with an addiction, a drug or a gambling problem. A woman who keeps going back to an abusive or violent relationship, someone who always burns money in bad investments or partnerships, or someone who simply won’t open his or her eyes to their high risk medical condition or lifestyle.
At my age I have lived long enough to have been both
I have been the repeat offender or the dog that keeps going back to its vomit. And so have some of you.
Out of high school, college or as young professionals, a number of us have made the mistake of drinking too fast, too many and kneeling before the altar of the toilet bowl swearing to God, that if the room would just stop spinning and if we would just stop vomiting, we will never drink again.
Famous last words till we pass out drunk.
We keep going back because we never really learned the lesson or because the real problems were never resolved.
More than once, I too have thrown in the towel, the kitchen sink and regrettably even a load of angry words in judgment of people “who didn’t give a damn about themselves”.
So why am I writing all this?
Recently I was reminded of the cold hard facts of life, that we often overlook about others as well as the silly and sometimes hurtful things we do. A number of people I know recently fell into difficult situations. Some had a medical crisis, others had marital crisis, and others had financial crisis.
Times are hard, but it is in these times we discover much about ourselves. I discovered that while people were hurting and asking for help, the other half that were being asked often responded by saying “I’ll pray for you” or “God will provide”. We can give up on someone, pass the call to God instead of passing the hat around, or blame people directly for their faults; all of the above, except us. The question is, what real solutions do we provide to real problems?
If a woman keeps clinging to an abusive or illicit affair, isn’t it because that bad relationship is still a “relationship” that provides a roof over the head, food on the table or tuition for the kids the women love more than themselves? So many women are enslaved in golden cages because of bad childhoods, poverty or denied the chance to empower or equip themselves. Others are trapped by a greater responsibility, that of caring for their children. They don’t have the professional or economic ability to survive and provide. In the meantime “we” constantly remind them of their fallen nature not even realizing that night after night, both prostitute and mistress are confronted with the reality of being in a prison without bars.
Why is it that if a man steal, kills, cheats in order to take care of his kids, we say “that’s life”, but if a woman sells her body or what ever is left of her honor to feed, educate and house her children we call her a slut?
Yes, you could beat the abuser till he’s dead, throw him in jail or expose the illicit affair to put an end to it. But it does not put an end to the need for food, tuition, rent or a real relationship.
I asked my friend: what did you do to help besides saying “I’ll pray for you”. Did you offer to help her make a plan to have another future? Did you pay for the tuition of one child? Did anyone in the office or in your church offer to give her or lend her a car? Did someone really stick with her to help her and see her through?
How many people went beyond their comfort zone? How many did something more than say “I’ll pray for you”?
Kindness may be about giving comfort. It may be about consoling. Even saying prayers can certainly qualify as an act of kindness. But what I have come to realize is that kindness is about taking action.
When we do that, kindness will undoubtedly kill. It will kill our fears, even our selfishness. It’s what you have to do in order to care for others, more than yourself.
Kindness kills detachment or indifference.