Kindness and being young
I have spent a lot of time thinking lately, as per usual. It is so weird to me that this time last year I was preparing to leave for Chile.
I am sitting in my back yard right now, and in Kansas, we have a lot of little birds. Finches. Sparrows. Robins. Cardinals, my favorite. Doves. Pigeons. The list goes on.
My mom scatters bird seed a lot. She likes to get this suet patties that are a bunch of different grains and seeds encased in fat, so that some of the birds that would have to fight for food have a chance when the bigger, stupider birds come and eat from the bird feeder (and the squirrels). You see, that leaves the rest of our yard and most of our neighborhood up for grabs for the littler guys. Those are my words, not hers. I’m pretty sure she sees it backwards.
I was looking over to this grass we have in our yard. My mom knows a lot about Native Kansan Grasses, and so does my dad. They met when she was in school, and they both know a lot about plants. He studied the horticulture of grasses. He did his thesis on forsithyia, which was basically our hedge when we lived next to my elementary school. The blossoms were this calm yellow color, and I’ll never forget the time that my sister got so close to a little Robin’s nest that she ran from the mama Robin as it dove, trying to gouge her eyes out. Lol. Some things never change, and birds trying to attack people is funny no matter what, ESPECIALLY if it’s your sister.
The birds sat three to a piece of grass. The grass is this gold and warm color that looks like a cross between hay and decency. If you look at it right now, you can see the little fronds drifting like gold tinsel through the breeze, and the sunlight is steaming through them like a photoshoot. I’m trying not to squint.
These little birds came on after another. They sat quietly, and looked at each other surprised when their combined weight made the little grass end bob up and down, and then stabilize. The sky is the color of the sky over the prairie in the movies, but we kept the whispy clouds this time. And there is warmth on my face because of it.
When Jesus was born, his parents offered up a sacrifice to God in thanks: two turtle doves. They were poor. God was still grateful.
It is hard to be young like Elihu (in the book of Job). As a young woman looking for happiness and God in the 21st century, I think my odds are much more stacked against me than a young Hebrew man looking for wisdom, but that’s an argument for a different day.
It’s funny what happens when you are nice to people and they still don’t respond kindly. First, you realize that you have no control. Then, you become okay with it. And after a long time of trust in something greater like God, you begin to feel okay with it enough to try to be kind anyways. You begin to disregard people who tell you they know better, and attack you for it. You begin to move forward, in gratitude that came very slowly, and then, you give up on pleasing other people entirely, and you become unafraid.
It’s funny to me, because the only thing that has ever changed in how I think of myself and my kindness is faith. To move forward you need faith when people tell you that all you are is unkindness. It’s something you absorb, like a poison. I’ve lost a lot of weight recently. I left on study abroad around 200 lbs, right now I’m somewhere near 157ish (idk). It’s so weird to me, because my highest weight (and most miserable) was about 80 pounds ago. That wasn’t a coincidence. My mom always told me thing about “eating to live and not living to eat”, and it’s funny to me that the only thing that has changed is that I feel good enough to enjoy food that is also healthy (not the garbage stuff like Kashi.Barf). I like being able to do it for myself, after all that. I’m going to be honest—I never even noticed the weight coming off until other people said things, like my freshman housemate study abroad brother guy. That was weird, fyi. It was obvious, but it didn’t help other people being mean or jealous. It did help me remember how little I ever cared in the first place.
It is funny to be young and have very few people listening. Elihu asks desperately for God to strengthen his words, because he knows he has already lost before he opened his mouth. What a shame. Luckily, it never made any difference.
The only difference between young and old is memory and kindness. Children don’t remember so much, so they have better odds at being themselves, for better or for worse. If you knew that you could be happy enough to be alone for the rest of your life, would you stay? I did. I love my family too much, and all my friends too.
The longer you know someone in terms of love, the more blessed they will be when you rise above the past. I’ve had a lot of teachers and friends that have believed in me over the years to see this become true, and it is so utterly strange to know that the choices I have made will be best for them when I share the truth. Heaven on earth is built by every person’s kindness, and I believe you will reap what you sow. In this case, I will have enough goodness to pass on to those who would otherwise glean it. What a gift.
Is anything so different in this world? Oohh! A cardinal showed up. Thank you, Papa, he’s pretty. Mmm. That sunshine really helps cut the wind, thank you.
I have been called many things in my day, but for the most part, I only absorbed the darkest things. Victim. Liar. Beggar. Butch. Dyke. Idiot. Coward. Imbecile. Bastard. Unwanted. All of it.
Would you let me bless you if I asked? I just want to help you rise above it. I just want to be of use in this world. You don’t have to believe me, you didn’t before. But being you and bold and kind is terrible.
Would you believe that God could restore everything in an instant? What about months? What about 4 months? What about 9?
The instant you chose it, the time that you build it, the love that you build and the grace you receive. Time means nothing.
Fear is something that comes to us all, young and old. I like Ecclesiastes, because at least it has a happy ending. You are free to live your life as no more and no less than your infinitely weak neighbor. What a gift.
I just want to be kind.
I had just as many people tell me I was wrong when I was a kid for being kind as I do now, the only difference is that the conversation has flipped and I no longer care. Your life is what you make it, that is the path I have chosen.
It is a bitter twist of fate to know that the people that most read this are the people that will be least blessed by it, if they believe that it happened. It is a sad thing. To have my family and most of my friends not receive the blessing that I hoped to share in sharing it, that is sad I guess. But to know that if they understand it, when they do, it will mean more through accumulating even more kindness? Now that is a gift worth sharing.
My dogs get such a look of joy on their faces when we experience the world together, around my neighborhood. Would you believe that all of these things were true if you met me?
As of today, most people don’t. It’s almost a blessing to let people accept it from a distance, if they do at all. It hurts less when they insinuate I do it for my own good, and still, even though it comes easier, I have to fight to ignore them.
Did Jesus say blessed are those who believe and yet, have not seen because he thought they would be more blessed? Probably not, God is equally kind to all because of Christ. What I think he must have meant is that not seeing a blessing makes it easier to have faith, and thus, believe it is a blessing. Which is why I write. Which is why I’m not sure you would believe me if you met me in person.
Such is life, and it makes no difference, but knowing that it doesn’t matter in context certainly helps. I may not be trying to save my friends like they occasionally think, but I do love them. When they hurt me, I often wonder if it would be best to love from a distance. And then I talk to God and remember.
I spent this last week at home doing next to nothing. I’m grateful I had the time, I was so tired. It is always about a week that I need to recover from the end of a cycle, let alone a cycle so daunting as the last 4 months. Hey, but it’s almost Christmas. J
I don’t believe in a lot of treatments for “mental health” issues because I have lived them, but I do believe in rest, self-care, healthy self-motivation in the direction of long term happiness, and taking responsibility for your limitations and strengths so that you might give ownership of all of it to God. My mama Myriam in Chile said that health is a bout your spirit, and that slowly the pain I you filters its way out. I believe it, and I think it’s important to make it yours, otherwise it will mean nothing and just happen again. She always said “Distance yourself from that which does you harm”, she never said “Distance yourself from those who do you harm”. I believe it, and I think it’s important to make it yours, otherwise it will mean nothing and just happen again. If you really want to move forward in anything, it has to be a gradual choice, every day. It means something.
This is for nobody in particular, I just felt like writing and sat in my backyard. Sometimes when people I know read my stuff, they get offended and think I’m talking to them. I’m not. This is so much bigger than any one person, myself included. We all have choices every day, but I hope to God that we trust each other even when we don’t want help, otherwise there is no point.
I just want to aspire towards a world where people look at me and judge me for very simple things that we do not own. I’d like to build it with friends. Most of all, I’d like to pass it on.
If a story is a story, then a story isn’t real. I guess it depends on how we define “Reality”. But this is real, and it is mine in order that I can steward it well and share it with others that need it. If it is imaginary, then kindness dies with it, and reality goes back to being a stage. If the wisest place in the world is a cross and the vainest place in the world is a stage (we self-define that) or rather, a pedestal, has anything changed?
I hope not. I hope in him. And at the end of the day, hope makes all the difference.