Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Death by kindness
So you hate someone or you probably are angry at the world. You've been wronged and you want revenge. Who doesn't? In a culture where being "mean" can mean being "in", we've probably gotten a taste of the sore end of being bullied.
There's a story that goes like this:
"A newly married woman was to live with her mother-in-law. On the outset she noticed that her mother-in-law was a little devil. The mother-in-law saw nothing right about her whatever she did in the house. Disturbed and devastated, the young wife went to a chemist-friend and asked for some poison to kill her mother-in-law slowly. The friend gave her a potion that she would drop little by little into the coffee of the mother-in-law who would drop dead in a month. But the friend strictly advised the young wife to be very patient and kind to her mother-in-law so as not to attract attention to her evil design.
So while slowly poisoning the mother-in-law, the young wife treated her very sweetly and kindly. Soon after, the mother-in-law changed and started treating her daughter-in-law very sweetly and kindly, too. This made the young wife guilty and ashamed of what she was doing. She went back to her friend, crying and begging for an antidote to the poison she had been giving her mother-in-law.
Her friend just smiled and said, "that was no poison I gave you, but just some baking powder. What killed her was our kindness. Go home and continue to treat her as you would want to be treated."
The message is clear and simple. We get treated the way we want people to treat us or the way we treat people in return. Sure, there are mean people and sure, we lose our tempers from time to time. No one is born perfect. But in each and every act of kindness we give, we get kindness back in return. Maybe not from the same person...but from other peoples.
A bit of compassion, understanding and love. A piece of our heaven, our purgatory and hell in our journeys in life.
[Photo from John Sokol: AIM ABOVE THE MARK]