Saturday, December 08, 2012

At The Heart of Kindness

I came out of the building and turned towards the ramp. A young mother was pushing a double pram up towards the store. When she saw me she got a guilty look and began to rush up. I immediately waved to her and called out, "Don't rush! I'm comfortably seated." It's a fairly long ramp so she slowed down and continued her way up. We had a brief interchange - one that gave me pause, here it is:

"Thank you for your patience," she said.

I indicated the kids she was pushing and said, "Well if we want kids to learn patience, we'd better show them from early on how it's done."

"That's very kind of you," she said.

I said, "Not at all, not at all."

"But," she said, "isn't patience at the heart of kindness?"

I laughed. I don't know why. Perhaps simply because I didn't know what to say.

It was a nice, simple, moment with another person.

But gosh it's got me thinking.

Over to you.


Webster said...

Perhaps she is right and patience is at the heart of kindness. But I was thinking of the ramp. It's not just for wheelchairs. It is a help for many. I wish more people would realize that.

Anonymous said...

I like that phrase - it makes you want to mull it over and look at it from all angles. It sounds like her little ones have a head start with their mommy.

CL said...

I don't know that patience is at the heart of ALL kindness, but it did get me thinking.

I've noticed that I sometimes feel frustrated and resentful when someone is slowing me down. It's a mild and unconscious feeling, but it's there. I recognize that it's wrong to feel this way, and I try to consciously override those feelings -- but know that I have it in me to resent other people for moving (or driving) slowly when I'm stuck behind them, for "making" me wait, etc.

It's important to me that I never express frustration in those situations, and I typically don't -- but I would like to reach a place where I don't feel resentful at all. I know how it feels when someone else is acting like a jerk because I'm in the way, and it sucks.

I don't like to think of it as "patience" because to me, patience implies that you're annoyed or inconvenienced, but you have decided to be generous about it. I'd rather reach a place where I don't have to think about it as "being patient" but just moving through the world treating everyone as worthy of being in public space, and expecting the same for me.

sandi said...

Interesting thought. I've just been helping our 9yr old with her new sewing machine, teaching her how to thread it and do basic sewing. She would consider it kind of me to spend the time. At the heart of it, yes, there was a lot of patience.

It's a idea I've not given much thought,but I like the concept very much.

Rickismom said...

Patience is often needed to do kindness, BUT sometimes real kindness, like "touch love" can come when we actually have no more patience. True kindness is doing what another will find useful , beneficial, and perhaps uplifting. Patience is certainly not always a big part of it. Many acts of kindness can be done with even a simple smile or the like-- no patience needed.