Tag Archives: kindness

Resolve to be Kind

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I have an aversion to cruelty. I especially have an aversion to cruelty perpetuated by humans. I think it, not just unnecessary, but the true evil, the only real evil–sentient-made and sentient-perpetuated.

We humans don’t need to perpetuate cruelty/evil. We don’t need to embrace and accept it, much less applaud it.  Yet, we do. And, while I very much understand the underlying factors which contribute to the behavior, I refuse to give credence to any permissive-minded excusing of it.

No.

As sentient beings, we humans have choice–a choice to refuse to act out our fear-based hatreds and craving-based greeds. We have a choice to be kind or cruel in any circumstance. And we have an obligation to be kind, not cruel. To ourselves and to all other entities, sentient and insentient. To do otherwise, to choose cruelty over kindness, condemns us in our own self, by our own memories–etched in our brains, our cells, even our DNA, to self-condemnation.

You can scoff. You can cry out that your personal savior, be that Jesus or some other, will wash away your every sin and you are forgiven. But the fact of your deeds is indelibly scribed, and while your personal savior might forgive you, you remember and, by your every cruelty, will self-condemn.

Now, psychologists will argue that self-condemnation requires conscience, and conscience is determined by cultural conditioning and neurology. They will point out that cultural norms define what is and what is not identified as cruel, as bad or good. They will point out that the sociopath has no conscience.

Right and wrong, according to psychology, is relative, yet science identifies a moral generator that develops in primates and in human children, the latter beginning at the age of four, despite culture and upbringing–a sense of fairness, scientists call it. It’s genetically ingrained, probably rooted in evolution of the species. Regardless, it exists and can be measured. It’s very much past time that we employ it for our own peace of mind and for the betterment of ours and every other living thing’s existence. To do less, even if conscience must be learned, as in the case of the sociopath, is to condemn yourself and the human species as truly, remorselessly evil.

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A Quarter Inch of Joy

I was out watering my ever-bearing strawberries, and, in the process, knocked a tiny black creature — a quarter inch long little black wasp — into the rain cistern. Reaching down with a gentle finger, I scooped her out and put her on my t-shirt sleeve before finishing my task while keeping an occasional eye on her revival progress.

It took her about two minutes of rubbing herself on the soft cotton material of my shirt sleeve, then another three or so of “tidying” before she considered herself “presentable” to the world again.  Watching, I was captivated by the meticulous attention she paid to every part of herself — her antenna, her thorax, her legs, her head, her wings.  She was not hasty; she attended every detail in a thorough, methodical, and almost leisurely, never panicked fashion.  Her lack of fear, her sense of “safe”, brought me a great measure of joy — that the small creatures around me know that I will never intentionally swat, hit, squash, or harm them.  It brings me a greater measure of joy to watch these wonderful living things go about their daily business in peace and harmony with every other creature who shares their life journey.

Be kind. The life you save could very well brighten your own well-being.

Patience & Compassion

I have some new neighbors, and, for the most part, I instantly don’t like them much.  …Because they’re loud, sloppy, dirty, aggressive, and disruptive.  Typically, they own a Pitbull.  (Now, I have nothing against Pitbulls, but I’m not real happy with the ugly folks who purposely make them mean and dangerous.)

Anyway, so, last night, Hubs got home very late, way after dark, so dinner was postponed till way after my normal bedtime.  We were just sitting down to this late supper when, outside, the roar of one of the “regulars” who visit the above-defined neighbors breaks the silence of the night. And then there’s yelling.

“What’s going on?” Hubs asked.

I shake my head, but get up and head out the door to find the answer.  And then I start to watch.

The son of the family, an amazingly nice boy — he must be thirteen or thereabouts — is sitting in the hopped-up Jeep that belongs to the young Mexican-American man (a brother of the wife, I think). The lights are on, the engine running.  The owner of said vehicle stands outside listening as the boy — scared — yells that “he doesn’t know how.”

The young man maintains a steady, even tone, his accented words gentle. “I know. You’ll get it.”

I can’t hear the rest of what he says, but it seems as if he’s giving the boy instructions on “how.”

Now, teaching someone to drive is very stressful.  It falls under the heading “absolutely NOT fun.”

The engine revs.  The Jeep lurches forward, then stalls, its lights dimming.

Again, the boy hollers. The man speaks calmly, compassionately…patiently, his voice still gentle. This is, I find, very unusual, because the young man is quite normally a strutting peacock, full of vim and piss.

The Jeep turns over, revs, gears grind (I’m cringing as I’m sure is the owner.), then it lurches forward, and hesitantly makes progress.

I worry that the boy is going to hit one of the trucks parked on the side of the road.  …He doesn’t, but steers the hopped-up beast he’s driving pretty well.  It’s the clutch that’s his problem, it seems.  (Isn’t it for any of us when we learn to drive a stick shift?)

The boy gets to the end of the street, tries to make a u-turn, fails, almost hitting one of the parked trucks.  He slams on the brakes, the rig sitting sideways in the road.  The rig dies, lights dimming again.  He gets it started again, but he can’t get it into reverse.  He’s practically sobbing as he again hollers out the open driver’s window down toward the waiting man.

The man walks past, heading toward the vehicle.  When he gets there, I hear, once again, the gentle voice giving instructions.  The boy, whose shrill whine sounds so very stressed, finally quiets and, as the man gets into the passenger side, he manages to grind the gears and, after another couple of stall-outs, manages to get the rig turned around.

They take off down the street, the vehicle alternately slowing and lurching forward.  Whew, I think.

Several times up and down the road, and, by the time a half an hour is up, the boy is getting it.  He’s able to clutch smoothly.  (I’m thankful all this time that the boy already has steering down.)

They stop at the house, both man and boy get out, the boy’s voice still a bit tentative, the young man’s voice still soft and encouraging as they say good-night.  The boy heads for his house, and the Jeep starts. The young man puts his foot in it — not too much, though — and takes off down the road into the darkness.

I stand there thinking, what patience and compassion the young man has exhibited, despite the fact that his Jeep, his pride and joy, has taken a bit of abusive punishment to its transmission, engine, and clutch. Usually one only sees that degree of gentility and calmness within the elderly. Here, I witnessed it from a youth just entering his twenties.  I’m impressed and just a little bit proud, despite the family he’s kin to.

I’m so glad he’s there for that boy, a boy whose father is notoriously loud, brazen, and exhibits every trait of a defensive-aggressive white trash male.  Thank heavens for the “other side” of the family — the Mexican-American side. Despite their macho strutting, they own patience and compassion with their own.

The Power to Help.

I have two ants safely harbored in a peanut butter jar, a piece of screen keeping them inside.  They came here inside my husband’s lunchbox from the construction site.  Of course, they didn’t come on purpose.  They weren’t particularly interested in visiting places far, far away.  They were after goodies and got hijacked by the lid being closed and zippered shut.  So home they came…surviving what had to be a very dangerous and uncomfortable trip, jostled between empty lunch containers, locked inside a plastic and nylon environment in 100 degree heat. 

So hubs opens lunch box to dump his containers into the sink and does the old, “Ants! Oh, great.”

Now, I have a “thing” about ants.  It’s the one creature…en masse…which will send me screaming off in a frothing panic. (I was bitten by red ants when I was a child and have never quite recovered from the experience.)  But I also have a “thing” about life and its being precious.  I have a “thing” which demands me respect all life…and non-life.  And, me, a human, has the power to help.  And that’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it?  If I have the power to help, doesn’t that obligate me to help where I can, when I can?  I think so.  Caring matters.  If one doesn’t care, if things don’t matter, what’s the point?

So back to the story.

So, lid open, one of the two ants trapped inside started perambulating around in a bit of a frenzy.  One got outside the box and disappeared.  The other was just doing laps inside. 

I see all manner of containers, but everything is plastic or styrofoam — death to insects put inside because they are saturated with things like pesticides or made using formaldehyde. (Nice to think that our food comes in these things, right?) Quickly, I grab the clean, empty, glass peanut butter jar, wondering where the “outside” ant went off to, and how I would be able to find her to get her safely inside the jar for the return trip home tomorrow.  Ah!  There she is!  I manage to get her to walk inside the jar.  Now for the other one.  She’s not so easy, but, with the help of a piece of paper towel, she’s induced to take a ride inside safety.

Screen lid anchored in place, and they are ready to roll, no longer “lost ants,” but simply on an adventure and ready for the return trip home.

I used my power to help. 

BELATED ANT UPDATE:

Yes, they made it safely back to their ant homes.  Hubs was very conscientious about getting them back to exactly where he ate lunch the day before.  And he watched them as they made tracks out of the jar and onto “familiar ground.”  They immediately ran into more ants, did the “feeler thing,” as he called it, then made tracks, following other ants headed to a “known ant home.” 

I really like the construction crew.  They are very conscientious.  All of them.  And that’s as it should be since the two owners, Hubs and partner, are both eco-minded.  If the crew wasn’t, I guess they wouldn’t be crew very long, right?

Oh, and, I failed to mention, I put a bit of water on aforementioned paper towel the morning of transport back home, and both ants made quite an elaborate show of drinking.  Those were some thirsty ants.  They must have snacked on some of hubby’s favorite Triscuits!