“In your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O LORD.
Teach me your ways, O Lord.” -- Ps 25:7
The word “kindness” now stays with me all the time, because of some incidents that happened to me in the past week…
Last Sunday evening, I was driving home after dropping my kid off at church, suddenly the car died, in the middle of the road, at a dangerous winded spot where there was no street light! It was a cold rainy night, and panic set in immediately when I pushed the emergency lights and they didn’t even work, so it’s pitch black all around me! Worse yet, I realized I didn’t have my cellphone with me; as we had rushed out of the house I didn’t even grab my jacket, thinking I’d just go for a quick 5-minute dride! After a few seconds debating what to do, I stepped outside. I must have waived at 10 cars but they kept on driving, splashing water all over me. Finally, one car stopped. (A quick shameful feeling jolted me, when I saw that the woman driver was of a certain “nationality”, and I hate to admit that I used to have some stereotypical prejudice agaisnt them – so this just goes to show a similar “Good Samaritan” lesson, but this topic can be reserved for a different reflection by itself.) She let me borrow her cellphone; I called my daughter at church and asked her to find someone there to rescue me. Truth is, I couldn’t think of anyone or anything else in that situation. After that quick phone call, the woman drove off; I was back on the curbside, alone in the dark, soaking wet, feeling so terrified as if I were in a horror movie myself, and I imagined all kinds of dangers that would happen to me any minute. Heck, I would have had a heart attack if only a black cat jumped out of a bush! I was scared and sad and angry; the rain kept pouring, and somehow the streams of water tasted pretty salty when they touched my lips… In any case, I was very blessed that only 10 minutes later, a youth leader came out to help me jump-start the car and he even escorted me home. Needless to say, that night I prayed extra hard, and gave extra thanks to our God for the kindness shown to me through other people.
The next morning, it’s still cold and rainy. I asked my daughter, repeatedly, to put on the thick hooded jacket. She kept mumbling, “no…no…I don’t want to…”. Anyone who went through a “power struggle” with a teenager could picture how fun this could be! So I blew up and yelled at her – big time! Oh how so little control I had over my temper, and my poor little girl looked rather stunned yet frightened - drops of tears came out from the corners of her eyes. After dropping her off at school, I found myself overwhelmed with shame and guilt ... In the past sometimes I wondered how a certain person could be so “cruel” to me; I lamented at how someone could treat me so bad or use harsh words with me unnecessarily. Now I committed the same offense, even worse. Just the previous night, I went through a tremendous experience, I was feeling pretty grateful when I recognized and received God’s kindness, how come I could not practice kindness toward my loved ones? What about the famous teaching “love is patient, love is kind” (1 Cor 13:4)?
Maybe it’s easier to show “kindness” – in form of “politeness” – to other people (than those in our close circle), since we’re more prudent to watch our language/behavior to guard our reputation? A little hypocritical in human nature?
Reciting my own examples seems trivial and inconsequent, and my warp sense of humor tells me that God must have tested me and I failed miserably! However, nowadays I trust that God’s Grace will guide me through and through. Reflecting more on this Twenty-fifth Psalm, I came to understand that it is God's goodness, God’s kindness, that I must rely upon. And I pray that I can learn to make “Kindness” the modus operandi from now on!
Dear God, please help us look honestly at our own “ways” and our behaviors. We are crying out sincerely, “TEACH US YOUR WAYS, O LORD”… Please teach us to be kind, all the time and to everyone.