Kim’s Korner

Kindness Matters: An Update

It’s been a year since we first started putting the Kindness Matters/Asbury UMC bumper stickers on our cars.
Turns out, a year later, kindness still matters. (If you’d like a magnetized bumper sticker, call the office 447-1950)

Other United Methodist Churches in the area are joining us, and you might have seen their bumper stickers as well. We’re trend setters!

Sometimes, though, when a message like Kindness Matters gets familiar, we stop paying attention to it.

This commencement speech by George Saunders rekindled my awareness of how much kindness matters. (You can read the entire speech on-line, 6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com)

George Saunders begins with inviting his audience to ask others, “Looking back, what do you regret?” Then he goes on to say what he regrets: “So, what do I regret? Being poor from time to time? Not really. Working terrible jobs, like ‘knuckle puller’ in a slaughter house? No. I don’t regret that. Skinny dipping in a river in Sumatra, a little buzzed, and looking up and seeing like 300 monkeys sitting on a pipeline, pooping down into the river, the river in which I was swimming, with my mouth open, naked? And getting deathly ill afterwards, and staying sick for the next seven months? Not so much…..

But here’s something I do regret: In 7th grade, this new kid joined our class. She was small and shy. When nervous, which was pretty much always, she had a habit of taking a strand of hair into her mouth an chewing on it. So she came to our school and our neighborhood, and was mostly ignored, occasionally teased (‘Your hair taste good?’–that sort of thing). I could see it hurt her. I still remember the way she’d look after such an insult: eyes cast down, a little gut-kicked, as if, having just been reminded of her place in things, she was trying, as much as possible, to disappear…..

Sometimes I’d see her hanging around alone in her front yard, as if afraid to leave it.

And then they moved. That was it. No tragedy, no big final hazing. One day she was there, next day she wasn’t.
End of story.

Now why do I regret that? Why, 42 years later, am I still thinking about it? I never said an unkind word to her. But still it haunts me.

So here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it.
What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.

Or look at it from the other end of the telescope. Who in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth?

Those who were kindest to you, I bet.” (George Saunders)

I hope these words touched you, as they did me. Let’s go forward into the days ahead, remembering kindness matters….and there’s no limit to how kind we can be. Thanks be to God!

blessings on the journey,
Kim

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