I’ve always been a patient person.
That is, until I had kids.
(You will immediately recognize this statement for what it is, Clever Reader: I must not have been *truly* patient if said patience was strictly dependent on those with whom I was interacting LOL).
But as (uh, I hope) most parents can relate, there’s something about those Beautiful Young Creatures that can trigger my very best, and my very worst. And hence the other day I found myself shouting, full volume and with complete exasperation:
IN THIS FAMILY
WE TREAT EACH OTHER
(Not to worry, the irony of my yelling this message was not lost on me, even in that very moment. Nor did I actually think this was a particularly effective parenting strategy. But I digress...)
Later that night, I discovered Young Lady’s notepad, propped by her bedroom door:
"I pledge to God and my parents
I will be as kind as kindness can be.
I will not hurt but help."
Drip…drip…drip (the sound of my melting heart). Kindness has such a sweet aroma, doesn't it? I am undone.
I recently heard someone describe how terrified she was of God as a child. The God-Picture hanging in her living room brimmed over with anger and fury and threats of damnation. The image was so soul-crushing that she refused to be in the house if no one else was at home, choosing instead to wait on the front porch for her family’s return. It wasn’t until later in life that she encountered the Tender Healer, who gently wooed her heart, undoing her with kindness.
At times, anger seems to be the easy route, doesn’t it? It allows us to loudly stake our claim, demanding that the world be made right for our (real or perceived) injuries, crushing those who stand in our path. But while anger might bully a soul into submission, it can’t change a life, nor heal a heart. Only love can do that.
And if there is any doubt between the two, might I dare claim it was love ~ not anger ~ that hung on the cross?
Anger has its rightful place. It’s a signal, a symptom that something is wrong and change is needed. Anger just doesn’t work well as a tool for making that change possible.
And so I pray to be quiet enough to hear the wooing whispers of the One who draped the cross with kindness, and that those same tender mercies would flow in and through my mouth and hands, mind and heart. A holy Pledge of Kindness of sorts, to give…and to receive.
For hearts undone by kindness~
“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to my beloved ones.”
“Do you still not realize ~ it is God’s kindness
that leads your heart to be transformed
into something brand new?”