“You are in a toxic friendship: Niceness, you say their behavior is okay & let them off the hook time & time again. Kindness, you tell them they need to change their ways & offer your help to do so.” ~Amanda, Teacher, Be Gentle, Be Kind course
Amanda teaches me that there are differences between Niceness and Kindness that nudge passed semantics. I have noticed them this week. From the corner of my dad’s hospital room I have paid more attention. Niceness is Mary, the nurse’s aide who brings his food tray with a smile. Kindness is Mary’s action to remember to place the tray angled to the right because of dad’s sluggish left side, gently placing all the utensils within his reach. Napkin too, although Southern regimentation dictates its left-most position
Niceness is Adam, who arrives quickly to rotate him, calling him “Sir.” Kindness is Tony, the technician assigned to complete the barium swallow test, but who stays, noticing the length of time that Dad has been in this same position. Tony calls Adam, and together, with Adam, gently instructing Adam in the best way, Tony stays to readjust my dad, adding range-of-motion exercises to let sluggish muscles know that Tony won’t let them lapse to atrophy on his watch.
Even though it is not in his “job description,” Tony stays. He lingers, positively, confidently. With dignity.
And so does Kindness. Niceness arrives and that is good. Kindness lingers and that is better.
If Niceness places a period after action, Kindness inserts the ellipses that continues and extends.
Course Invitation to Create: Use the Printable Kindness Sun in your printable pack or draw/paint a circle in the middle of your page & write the word Kindness inside. Make lines coming out of the circle like a sun. Start with however many lines you wish. On each of those lines write down an act of kindness that you will perform.
As I look at the sun, maybe it is just my insistence on using the printer toner until the very end, but I think I see something. The sun rays grow lighter as they extend. The rays are strongest at the center, then dissipate as they extend. We lose control of what can happen next, but what happens next will be better than good.
From this corner of the hospital, with dad resting, breathing deeply now, this seems to symbolize that as our kindness leaves our center, we lose.
We lose control of it. It blends with other moments, other paths, other lives.
And in a swirl of Sprit, it extends.
Is this what pixie dust is?