|| 28 October 2018
We Can Be Kind
When my sister-in-law was dying of cancer, she picked the hymns to be sung at her funeral. She also requested that her younger daughter sing the Nancy La Mott song "We Can Be Kind." This choice surprised me.
My sister-in-law was often unkind — as I and others who had numerous experiences of her unkindness well knew.
She had never traveled more than a couple of hundred miles from the place she was born. She lacked the kind of education that makes a person open to considering new ideas. So anyone different made her uneasy. This uneasiness caused her to react with acts of petty meanness. She was skilled at tacky comments and at spoiling one’s pleasure. So much so that when she died, she had long been estranged from her only sister. And others.
But as my sister-in-law found her life moving toward a too-soon end at 43, when she realized she would not live to see her daughters graduate from college — she who loved small children would never see grandchildren, in her last days she came to a different perspective on how one treats others who threaten us by being different. So the simple advice she left was: We can be kind.
We live in a time of great incivility. Caustic comments and hostile acts toward those different are the usual, not the exception. These comments and acts cause trouble, anguish — even deaths. Things have reached such a state that solutions seem impossible.
The answer Nancy La Mott and my sister-in-law offered:
So many things I can't control
So many hurts that happen everyday
So many heartaches that pierce the soul
So much pain that won't ever go away
How do we make it better?
How do we make it through?
What can we do
When there's nothing we can do?
We can be kind.
be chic, stay slim, be kind — Anne Barone
image: Crape myrtle showing autumn red