I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’
Violence doesn’t happen out of nowhere. It has a cause, a root, an origin. As the saying goes, “Hurt people hurt people.” We wound others out of our own wounds, numb and release the pain that’s been inflicted on us. But healing does not happen out of nowhere, either. Healed people heal people—by their very presence they draw others in, make them feel worthy and good enough. Healed people are just kind, with no other agenda. What Jesus outlines in the above verses are a vision kindness, and Jesus says this by way of explaining God’s priorities for humanity. God prioritizes kindness. Feeding the hungry; satiating the thirsty; welcoming the stranger; clothing the naked; caring for the sick; visiting the prisoner. Resilient people are just kind people. They prioritize acts that enhance the lives of others, for no other reason than it makes the world a better place. They move through the world making it easier for the rest of us to heal.
Takeaway: Kindness is not linear; healing is not linear. The human emotional landscape is circuitous and needs constant re-rooting in kindness and hope. Set an intention for your kindness this week—what is one way to connect more kindness to your daily movements? When I am trying to re-root in kindness, I often return to the Alanis Morissette song, “That I Would be Good.” The prayer-like song is a plea that, whatever else happens, the singer will keep kindness at the center of her life. It’s a gorgeous reminder that the center of life is not success or invulnerability or wit or the ability to hide my imperfections—it is kindness. Listen to this song (or one of your personal favorites for this theme) and re-root in kindness today.
Gathering the Stones is providing 40 days of reflections on resilience during Lent. Check back for new reflections every day (except Sundays).