This month I invite you to come with me down the Kindness Trail and meet some special people.
The farmer's lad: The illustrated verse below is framed in my home and magically transports me to visions of my grandparents' country cottage and carefree moments of yesteryear. Discovered in a cordoned-off farmhouse room at the Heritage Folk Farm, Bunratty, County Clare during an Irish Pilgrimage with the Sacred Art of Living & Dying, with no guilt and a blessing to shorthand, noted the words. A recent Google search indicated slight variations in the wording, author unknown, and citing it as an 'oldie but goody' that grandparents shared with their grandchildren when walking down a dark country road, as I would often anxiously do. Perhaps it will stir up memories for you.
They walked the lane together
The night was studded with stars
They reached the gate together.
He lifted for her the bars.
She neither smiled nor thanked him
Because she knew not how
For he was just the farmer's boy
And she the Jersey cow!
Did that farmer's lad see his nightly walk as one of kindness? I like to think so, and that perhaps he talked to her as they walked. At times we all need a trusted listener, so we can hear our thoughts and express our feelings.
David Hamilton: A few days ago, a reference in my weekly inspirational newsletter from U.K. author, Robert Holden (www.robertholden.com) led me to an interview with Dr. David Hamilton on kindness, from his Flagship seminar for the Bank of England. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbBCfphw5V4. A scientist and author of ten books, including The Five Side-Effects of Kindness, in his warm Scottish burr he offered scientific proof with simplistic examples on how simple acts of kindness boost our physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being, contribute to feeling happier and living longer. Of key importance, they spread joy, suggesting one act of kindness can have a multiple effect of 125.
Bedtime story friend: A few years ago I had a very wise and special friend, then in her mid-90s, with whom I shared laughter and bedtime stories by phone once she got tucked into bed in her care home. My cat, Cadi, seemed to know when she was on the line and would contently plop onto my book, giving her added joy and having me improvise on the story. Shortly before she died, when doing research for one of my ministry thesis papers, I asked for her perspective on a key life ingredient; without any hesitation she said "kindness".
Thank You: The 13th century German mystic and theologian, Meister Eckhart, wrote: "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough." I continually thank you for your thoughts, especially when a message strikes a chord, as with April's newsletter, where I acknowledged how much kindness and support were offered to others, especially during our current pandemic challenges, and that we also be mindful to support ourselves with whatever is most meaningful. While I am not a gardener like my father or many of you, I do appreciate those who expressed joy to be again 'stirring up the soil'. However, I did feel joy this past week by rearranging, many times, items in my living-room to ideally place a new lamp ... which has now been returned as it just didn't quite fit!! Whatever speaks to each of us!
Closing thoughts: Joining us on our Kindness Trail I give closing thoughts to two wise sages from a small creatively illustrated book, chock-full of heartfelt wisdom, by Charlie Mackesy: The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse: The mole asks the boy: What do you want to be when you grow up? Kind, said the boy. ... Thoughtfully, the mole replied: Being kind to yourself is one of the greatest kindnesses. And so it is!
As we step into a new month let's be grateful for gifts that unfold as we walk with each other in supportive ways. Until next time, be well, be safe. Namasté.
Rev. Dorothy Blandford, Ph.D
Apt. 202 - 1655 Martin Drive
Surrey, BC, V4A 6E1, Canada