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 Post subject: The Religion of Kindness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:09 am 
Prophet

Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:00 pm
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It's more like a philosophy, and it is very simple. To be clear, "kindness" is not just squishy feelings and acting nice. Kindness is respecting the personhood of yourself and everyone else. But here's a slice of my life from the kindness lens:

Quote:
For seven years next September, this American has lived in a tiny European village.

Where I live now is home to 550 inhabitants and is named after the brook it nestles. This village is quiet, surrounded by fields of corn, hay, and the bright yellow flowers used to produce canola oil. The noisiest sounds are the traffic on the main road.

We live in an old farmhouse on the left, just after you cross the bridge into the village, coming from the nearest city. Our house is directly under the flight path of storks passing from the river to their high treetop nests.

Although our village is small, it does not feel isolated. Very typical of many European countries, it’s one in a network, one village accessible to the next by a short walk. So although the closest thing we have to a grocery is the corner bar-restaurant, which is mostly a bar, it’s still only a two or three minute drive to arrive there.

With a large family that requires plenty of shopping, I visit my favorite grocery store several times a week, sometimes several times in one day. I can reach it by travelling either way on the main road.

The left connects to a winding route through fields, travels under the mammoth arches that support the tracks of the high-speed train, passes a rugby pitch, and then runs beside a field allotted for the annual use of a travelling caravan community. At the street for the grocery, there’s a turn quickly followed by a roundabout, so when I go this way it means a very pleasing zip right, zip left, and then right again. (Driving roundabouts here, I’ve come to understand the appeal of being a race car driver.)

But if I travel to the grocery by taking the right, I cross over the bridge, newly fitted to accommodate a pedestrian path, then pass a small and new business, a gym with banks of windows that expose the sweaty efforts of its clients to passersby. This way crosses another section of the TGV tracks, then brings us to a very dense neighborhood. One side is where I find the family doctor. The other side offers the middle school, music school, and a home for mentally-handicapped adults. I’ll often stop at the crosswalk here while a troupe from the adult home returns from a supervised walk. Without fail, at least one among them will turn, smile at me, and wave. This road comes to a T near this village’s towering church which recently celebrated its thousand-year anniversary.

A couple years ago, this village grocery store was purchased by a national chain, but the employees did not change. Annick lives across the street from us and has been working at the in-store bakery for fourteen years. Regine, Maripole, and Betty have each been at this store for over thirty years, Maripole at least forty. When we first arrived, from time to time, I’d be behind another customer in line who was engaged in conversation with the cashiers. I could get annoyed when the talking seemed to prolong, and I still do if I’m in a rush. Yet now, odds are that if a cashier is having an intense conversation at their register, it’s with me.

Last week, while at the cash register, I told Regine we were moving. In about the space of the time it took to scan, bag, and pay for ninety-four euros of food, we spoke about the challenge of moving, of what we parents do to help our children, the importance of communication, how she’s open with her adult children and I’m open with mine, how life is meant to be lived now. When I thanked her and wished her a good day, her clear eyes meet mine and she returned the saying. I felt like she meant it.

I’m going to miss it here.~~

Rebecca was chopping lettuce in the kitchen of the BYU Cougareat when she fell in love with the dishwasher and his heavy French accent. Twenty years on, they and their children have lived on both sides on the Atlantic.

https://sistersquorum.com/2018/06/20/a-lovely-road/


Of course there are moments when kindness is loud, obstinate, and even frightening. I am fortunate that I am not obliged to be kind that way on most days.


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 Post subject: Re: The Religion of Kindness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:37 am 
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Location: Northern Virginia
Meadowchik wrote:
Of course there are moments when kindness is loud, obstinate, and even frightening. I am fortunate that I am not obliged to be kind that way on most days.


Thank you so much for posting that. Beautiful writing, and even more beautiful meaning behind the writing. I really need to start writing again.

Kindness is often dismissed as being "nice," which has a kind of phony undertone to it. We recently moved from Virginia back to Utah, and I was lamenting that I had not made any real friends back east. A week or so before we moved, I went to the pharmacy to get some prescriptions refilled. With a large family (and with more than a few medical conditions among us), I've gotten to know the two pharmacists pretty well over the 5 years we lived there. One is a young woman who immigrated to the US as a child from Korea. We often spoke about family, our kids, the difficulty and expense of living in the DC suburbs, and just life in general. The other is a woman born and raised in the US, with blue eyes and freckles. She wears a hijab because she converted to Islam during her college years. We talked about the choices we make in life, and how our religious choices have affected our relationships with our families. She is happy in her path, as I am in mine. At that last visit, I told them I was moving to Utah, and we stood there, almost in tears, as we realized our interactions were ending. No, they aren't close friends in that I've never been to their homes or they to mine, but they were always kind to me, and we connected. I'm grateful for the kindness of those two women.

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If you just talk, I find that your mouth comes out with stuff. -- Karl Pilkington


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 Post subject: Re: The Religion of Kindness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:10 am 
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Meadowchik wrote:
Of course there are moments when kindness is loud, obstinate, and even frightening.

I hope you'll forgive me if I respectfully disagree.

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One of my friends said, in all seriousness, "I think the brethren hate the missionaries."

--Runtu, 06-29-2018


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 Post subject: Re: The Religion of Kindness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:38 am 
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I'm mostly a lurker on this board, being unwilling to take the time or make the effort to post anything coherent or insightful. Given all that, I greatly appreciate those who do. Though I may not usually acknowledge it, I always read and appreciate your thoughtful posts, Meadowchik. Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: The Religion of Kindness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:57 am 
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Wonderful writing. That was beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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"The Word of Wisdom has been an integral and faith affirming part of my life." Daniel C. Peterson, who has been morbidly obese for the last 40 years and tips the scales at over 400 lbs

"I'm on sabbatical in exchange for my promise to use this time to finish two books." Daniel C. Peterson in 2012


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 Post subject: Re: The Religion of Kindness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:02 am 
Prophet

Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:00 pm
Posts: 871
Runtu wrote:
Meadowchik wrote:
Of course there are moments when kindness is loud, obstinate, and even frightening. I am fortunate that I am not obliged to be kind that way on most days.


Thank you so much for posting that. Beautiful writing, and even more beautiful meaning behind the writing. I really need to start writing again.



Write write write!

It hits me in waves, I think. I can go moons without anything to say that doesn't get winnowed into irrelevance or diluted by over-complication, and then finally the words start sticking long enough to put down. Then I write carefully, but eventually get careless like a couple of my recent OPs. At least maybe I will remember that for the next time.

My mom talked to the cashiers when I was a kid. I am glad there are others who engage with them in a job that can be I'm sure crushingly mundane and sometimes dehumanizing.

Part of my disaffection was testing the character of kindness. I feel like I learned how to be more kind because of it.


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 Post subject: Re: The Religion of Kindness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:33 am 
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Dr. Shades wrote:
Meadowchik wrote:
Of course there are moments when kindness is loud, obstinate, and even frightening.

I hope you'll forgive me if I respectfully disagree.


Of course that is nothing to forgive, Doc. As this is an emergent philosophy for me, I'd love to talk about it if you want. It might help me to clarify meanings and their relationships.

So, what about my definition of kindness? Respecting the personhood of one's self and others. Can we agree on that?

Next, I'll give examples of kindness which may be loud, obstinate, and frightening. Maybe you can show me how they are not kind?

Loud kindness: cheering, protesting, warning.

Obstinate kindness: my teen son insisted on sitting with his older sister until she told me how dangerously depressed she was, and until she and I developed a plan to address her needs.

Frightening kindness: again, warnings. There are plenty of kindnesses which can be emotionally or otherwise scary, but which are essentially a manifestation of caring for another.

So, will you bite?


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 Post subject: Re: The Religion of Kindness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:54 am 
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Morley and Everybody Wang Chung, thank you both very much for the encouragement. I haven't been a student or employee for 18 years, but I want to go back to school and work again soon, so actually having some feedback on things besides SAHMing helps me keep that little candlefire going!


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 Post subject: Re: The Religion of Kindness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:05 am 
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You are so in the present here in your above post. I picture myself in my hometown with the old St. John Merc and wish for the days of conversation...okay..yes, I cried alittle..you rock.


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 Post subject: Re: The Religion of Kindness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:19 pm 
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candygal wrote:
You are so in the present here in your above post. I picture myself in my hometown with the old St. John Merc and wish for the days of conversation...okay..yes, I cried alittle..you rock.


Those sound like good memories. Do you live in a more urban place now?


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 Post subject: Re: The Religion of Kindness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:59 pm 
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candygal wrote:
I picture myself in my hometown with the old St. John Merc...

That sounds like a story that needs to be told here at MD.

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 Post subject: Re: The Religion of Kindness
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 06, 2016 8:38 pm
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Meadowchik wrote:
candygal wrote:
You are so in the present here in your above post. I picture myself in my hometown with the old St. John Merc and wish for the days of conversation...okay..yes, I cried alittle..you rock.


Those sound like good memories. Do you live in a more urban place now?
My home town was very small but now I am making Logan (Cache Valley) the big city. Beautiful here too..


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 Post subject: Re: The Religion of Kindness
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:05 am 
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candygal wrote:
My home town was very small but now I am making Logan (Cache Valley) the big city. Beautiful here too..


Oh yes, I've spent some time in Smithfield, it is gorgeous up there! Moksha is right, I'd love to hear more about the Merc!


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