It’s hard to always be our best selves all the time. Daily, little things annoy us. Other people annoy us. Days of annoyances pile up through the week. Finally, thoughtlessly, we vent our layers of frustration on a hapless, inanimate object. We kick the car, bang the trashcan lid, slam the door. No real harm done except to our toes and ears. In spite of the pain, we feel vaguely better.
Those are the “easy” days. What about the times when not only our lives, but the world around us is beyond “annoying”? What if it is falling apart? When nothing goes according to plan and it all goes from “annoying” to a downright emotional melt down. How do we cope in these times?
We can turn to our personal faith for guidance. Hard times have flowed through our whole history. Religions have a common thread that binds them. Bible, Koran, Torah or Tripitaka all have a common voice to guide us through troubled times. It is – humble kindness.
They all ask us to reach out to our neighbour, friend or family and ultimately our “enemy” and offer humble kindness. What is “humble kindness” and how can it help us in tough times?
How many times in a day do we ask “How is your day going”? The cashier, the waitress, the dog walking neighbour. We nod and barely accept the standard “I’m fine” reply. But, imagine a different world. One of kindness. A world where we stop and with humble eyes, see the people around us? A day in which we stop a moment to understand and not rush quickly by because “it’s none of our business”? What if we find not a “problem” but an unexpected friend? An angel in disguise. A world and a day to stop being- afraid.
Jesus made everyone “his business’. He was the biggest “busybody” on the planet. Politicians, beggars, bankers, children. Men and women. Nobody was safe from his attention or his annoying personal questions. He “did” unto everyone. With humble kindness.
The stench of a hungry beggar did not distract him from sharing his bread. The bawling baby found comfort on his lap. A fallen women sat beside him and found respect. A politician argued with him and learned tolerance. He saw our “better selves”.
In our current, troubled world, it is hard to be kind. “They” are not kind. “They” are not like us. THEY are not –us. We are blinded by our learned fears. We have lost the trust that our neighbours will “do unto us” in good faith. Jesus, Buddha and Moses led by example. They have asked us to do the same. “Do unto others as you would have done to you”. Our actions, however small, have reactions. Hate breeds hate. Kindness spreads kindness. Respect creates respect.
Yes. It is hard. But was life easier in Biblical times? Tough times are testing times. We are being tested. Fortunately, we can look to those who have gone before us. We can have faith.