I’m sure that, by now, most of you have seen the “be kind” car decals that keep cropping up. They’re small and green and shaped like cute flowers, and the perfect way to make you look like a great person and a little bit of a holier-than-thou. Recently, a school about two blocks from my family parish made a cute mosaic of it on the wall.
Anyway, it got me to thinking. What does “be kind” really mean? It’s an abstract, soft, pansy little thing to say when you really can’t think of anything better to say about one’s behavior. And really, kind? Is it not kind, from a certain angle, to abort down syndrome children in the womb or euthanize the elderly, lest they suffer on for years? Is it not kind to pay for your child’s drug addiction if they can’t pay it for themselves? Or perhaps to target black people for murder, so that white people have better access to resources? From a certain standpoint, all of these are kind things to do.
Kind is a loose and relative term, changing from person to person. I think it is kind to leave my unwanted roosters out in the desert, for a quick death to hungry coyotes. However, I know many people would see this as sick or evil. If everyone has different idea of kind, than all of our competing ideas of kindness will cancel each other out eventually.
Perhaps saying this is more of a way to justify oneself, the way a person who drives a prius feels justified in their eco-savvyness, when in reality a prius put more strain on the environment than a gas-powered car. Saying “be kind” will never make anyone be kind, but rather present the person touting the saying as a kind, caring, and generous person, without giving them any of the strains or problems that go along with those virtues. Paying $2 for a sticker is a small price to pay for the esteem of passing drivers, aye?
But really, we should be kind, but in the only true way of being kind, that of Jesus Christ. The Works of Mercy are the best way to show kindness to our fellow men. A list:
The Corporal Works of Mercy
To feed the hungry
To give drink to the thirsty.
To clothe the naked.
To visit and ransom the captives.
To shelter the homeless.
To visit the sick.
To bury the dead.
The Spiritual Works of Mercy
To admonish sinners.
To instruct the ignorant.
To counsel the doubtful.
To comfort the sorrowful.
To bear wrongs patiently.
To forgive all injuries.
To pray for the living and the dead.
To close, perhaps whenever you see one of those noxious “be kind” decals, you could try to do one of the above, even if it’s something as small as a prayer.
I hope today’s deep thoughts were deep enough for y’all… I have been rather vapid and mediocre in my writing lately, and I apologize.
Love to all!