“I am practicing being kind over being right”
– Matthew Quick
What does it mean to be kind? And what does it mean to be right? Over the years I have realized that it is always better to be kind than it is to be right. Not too long ago I was set on my ways and beliefs about how one should be right, and strive for the satisfaction of being right. But at the end of the line what matters most in life is not who was right the most times, and maybe not even who was more kind to each other… but how you made others feel. Maya Angelou said it beautifully, “I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision, I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
The other day a homeless man came up to me and Hayden with our baby pup, Gordy. He was so excited about Gordy and instantly came over to pet him. He started telling us his story about how he had a dalmatian once that he used to swim in the sea with, how he once had a wife and kids and a normal life, how once he was in the marines. He now lives on the stoops of this Catholic Church in Boston, so doped up on alcohol and drugs (?), with no medical attention or proper nourishment in who knows how long his eyes can no longer see straight, and his body movements are no longer fluid. When we parted ways, my heart broke. I know what you are thinking, what many of you are thinking, “he can get a job.” “he chose drugs” “it was his choice” “he ruined his life” and while all that may be true, why does that mean that we should ignore another human being in pain or need? If i lost everything today and fell homeless, friends, what would you do? Would you look the other way on the street? Or would you come talk to me, say a prayer, and give me positivity? Why is it we prefer to be right instead of being kind to one another? Is it because being kind makes us vulnerable and in turn weak to others? Does being right make us look somehow superior?I know not everyone will agree with me on this, and i didn’t agree with myself just a couple of years ago, but living in Boston and seeing them everyday face to face… seeing the sadness in their eyes, listening to the hunger in their bellies, smelling urine and feces on their clothes along with shame and loss of dignity. And maybe I have a weak heart or a big heart but the way I see it is they are a living breathing human being. It is not up to us to determine if they are RIGHT it is not up to us to determine if they are actually homeless or if they are going to use the change on drugs, it is not up to us to judge and decide their future… it is up to us to be KIND. How can anyone feel it okay in their heart to turn the check on someone who is in need????
In Luke 3:11 in the Bible it says, “…the man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same” and later in Luke 5:31, “Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” And I am not just referring to the homeless here in Boston, or America for that matter. Lets take it internationally, what about the people in Uganda, Sudan, South Africa etc!? Some so poor they can not even feed their own children, with rebels or “peri-urban police” constantly running in on their homes taking away the parents or children unless a bribe is offered. Or how about the Isis killing Christians in Iraq and Syria!? How can we lead our pathetic lives of what new shoes to buy to match our new blouse… with our biggest concerns being how are we going to do our hair for the party tonight when there are others who are in desperate need of our help. Or lets keep it simpler… how about a friend in need or a family relative, coworker, acquaintance, someone you met that day, the lady you poured your coffee to the man you made your burger? And maybe I am being dramatic. I am not saying you have to give up your own life but I am asking you to show kindness, to choose kindness. If it is not in your heart to help others across the nation, if it is not your calling, that is fine. But it is everyones calling to be kind. I by no means am perfect, I also have to work on this but I am choosing to work on it.That could easily be anyone you know or yourself. So practice kindness. Even if all you are offering is kindness and words, a smile, a story to share with someone in need, trust me, they will never forget it… and neither will you.