Kindness is safe even if it is delivered in a package labelled loss or pain. It is the kindness offered in times of anxiety that creates a cushion to fall on instead of a concrete slab.
Kindness is my favourite adverb. It is one of the fruits of the spirit marked out in the book of Galatians that seems to fit neatly into the heart centre. It is love in action. It says to others, ‘I am here for you and not just for my own well-being’. It suggests restraint to our ego. It scratches away the hard enamel of self and polishes the confidence of others. It has immense power.
Recently working late in the centre of the city on a Saturday evening I was handing over after my shift to the night watchman. He is young. Young enough to be my son. Quiet and unassuming. I was putting on my warm coat and preparing to walk through the city and catch the last bus home. I look forward to the 10 minute walk to the bus as it helps me to decompress after work. He was concerned. It was a cold night, and he offered to drive me home. I declined, but his small kindness after a long and difficult shift was a beautiful moment. It changed my mood right there. The grandeur of the act is unimportant. Do not underestimate the power of kindness that serves as the travel agent for love. I feel grateful for his offer.
So as we journey to find significance and place, we also crave for safety. Often the desire for safety and significance are at odds with each other. The person who is desperate to be known may sacrifice the comfort of security. The person craving emotional shelter may give up any illusions of grandeur in order to quieten the heart.
I find the message of the gospel so attractive as it harnesses both these desires. It allows me to feel known and to feel safe.