Hadley and I walk every morning, and one of our favorites walks is along the County Road that runs in front of our house.
On these mornings, with the sun shining, the azure blue Colorado sky above us, surrounded by a million shades of green, we set out reminding ourselves that the day before us is both a gift and a new beginning.
On the first part of our walk, we practice noticing, taking in the local flora and fauna. Our turn around point is a rock, recently renamed Gratitude Rock. We sit on Gratitude Rock, take in all that surrounds us, and thank Creation for all the blessings in our life. Then we turn around and head home.
On the way home, I will often recite my prayers, declare my intentions for the day, or sometimes even sing. Our repertoire is limited, but most often it is Amazing Grace or This Little Light of Mine.
Yesterday, inspired by the particularly spectacular Colorado still winter morning, we sang and sang all the way home. More than a few choruses of This Little Light, complete with arms flinging skyward in gratitude; it was glorious, and we were filled with light and love.
Once home, as I passed the mirror in the hallway, I stopped and just had to smile. The t-shirt I had on that morning, a gift from a friend, read:
In a world where you can be anything
Yes indeed. Be Kind! And rather smugly I remarked to myself that not only was I kind, I let my little light shine. I was an absolute beacon of light and kindness.
But as the day progressed, as I silently remembered acts of kindness I had extended, I stumbled upon more than a couple times when I could have been kind, should have been kind, but I somehow rationalized the opportunity away … they didn’t REALLY need the help, they had family of their own to help, I already helped them once, I was running late, if I stop to help, who knows how long I will be there, I will help them next time, helping them was not going to be easy, etc.
As I looked at the shirt in the mirror again that evening, it clearly said Be Kind. Not - Be Kind When You Want To. Not—Be Kind When You Have Time. Not—Be Kind When it is Easy. Not— Be Kind When Someone is Looking. Not – Be Kind To People You Like. It just said Be Kind.
And in that moment, my light dimmed. I was not a beacon letting my kindness and light shine all around me. I was a flashlight, pointing my light and kindness where I wanted it to shine, carefully disguising in darkness what I chose not to see and acknowledge.
“How sad.” was all I could muster. Followed by the realization that this is exactly why life takes practice.
So, I am going to practice being kind all the time, to anyone who needs it. Period.
The longest journey you will make in your life is from your head to your heart.
Sioux Indian Saying
Isn’t that the truth.