A Shabbas Table: Seeking "the Kindest Thing"

Something read awhile back hit a chord and keeps coming up lately. I don't have the qoute handy, but it was from Genevieve Kineke's The Authentic Catholic Woman. A friend of hers is a nun, and Genevieve was sharing how this friend's advice was, in times of deepest trouble, to do the kindest thing for yourself that you can think of. And more and more, i've been finding such healing wisdom there in "doing the kindest thing". I sure don't think the kindest thing is limited only to what we can do for ourselves (nor i'm sure did the person above), but it does include ourselves. Especially when we are most frazzled, this kindness truly opens a door. When we seek "the kindest thing" it helps us loosen, relax...and this opens us up more, helping us be more receptive to where God is trying to lead us. Kindness...it always seems to go to the heart of things.

I still see joy as being
like water....soft, subtle...so that even if theres only a little bit it can, just like water, softly seep into the edges of your life and color everything. Even just a bit does that. And since it only takes a bit, there is always a little opening in each situation i think, for that little bit of joy to get through, that little bit that can change everything. But there has to be an opening inside too, a softness....and sometimes when we are struggling that can be so elusive. But once we can relax more and open to it (again, i know that's not always easy) i do think there is always something God has left for us in our situation, some little joy and comfort we can open to that can change things inside, or at least "smooth the edges" a bit so things can be more bearable (no small gift). And that i think, is where we find this "kindest thing".

Joy, it's kind of a bright light. Comfort is a bit softer. But kindness is a very soft light, one not so blinding to the eyes of the heart when things are dark in there becuase of pain or stress. So when we feel our most stressed and fragile, finding the kindest thing can be a true door i feel. And the light slowly grows as our eyes of heart adjust to it from the dark...kindness can lead to comfort, comfort can lead to joy. The darker things are, the more gradually perhaps we need to let that light grow, but the point is that it starts...and that "kindest thing", it feels more and more like a true door there. Seeking what is kind and softening to the heart, i don't think that can ever be a mistake in the end.

Lately, i've been very taken taken by the softness seen in some of the FLDS women interviewed (see here). Also something in images like these, it just really moves something...this grandmother's hand on her (daughter's?) back, it is that opening, that kindness that finds the tiny edge open in a horrible situation, that can seep in that small opening and change things somehow (in this case for those she loves). Becuase i'm sure her daughter carried this gift with her and maybe it is what will help her get through what's ahead, that rope to cling to. Those little openings, they are everything. Everything. It's those same little openings felt when reading Jeremiah 29: 5-7. Still love Redbarn's paraphrase:

Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile:
build homes, plant gardens, become family. Sing the Lord’s song in this foreign land.
In essence: bloom where you are planted.

Back to this FLDS image above, it's more too... I'm sure no fan of polygamy, but that aside, the meek and quiet spirit in some of these women has rather deeply moved me. Their voices, their mannerisms, their dress, feels.... gentle. This doesnt guarantee a gentle heart of course, but i sure do think it can help. I guess i've just been really awed by the reaction of softness (not nonaction, but softness) there even in the face of such horror as what's happened to them through the state. It reminds me of Amish reactions i've seen when horrible things have happened to them. There is something so core to this i feel, this not hardening your heart, this keeping that softness somehow even as we are in such struggle...really, especially as we are in such struggle.

We all fall from this of course. But when we do, i think seeking "the kindest thing" is a real part of bringing it back. So is gentling somehow our way of thinking, moving, dressing, speaking. Just been thinking on this more and more, that it really does have impact. Not a guarantee, but impact. And that's no small thing.

Wishing everyone a Very Blessed Shabbat, and Wonderful Sabbath : )

(Source for top image unknown, middle one from
here, bottom one from here)

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