Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Try A Little Tenderness

“One who is full loathes honey from the comb but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet” Proverbs 27:7

“Anxiety weighs down a heart but a kind word cheers it up.” Proverbs 12:25

In the 60’s Otis Redding recorded Try A Little Tenderness. The song reminds men women’s reactions to circumstances can differ from theirs. Lacking a new dress can sap the vitality from a woman’s spirit. Recognize when she is upset and show sensitivity. Try a little tenderness, it lightens her load and enhances the relationship.
Many years ago we, along with a group of friends, lunched together after Sunday morning church. The Olive Garden was a favorite destination with unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks. For me, the piece de resistance was the Andes mints liberally distributed by our server. Those little candies provided the crowning touch to a time of good food and great fellowship.
My subject isn’t eating, it is kindness and the importance of generously spreading it around. When life’s going great, hitting on all cylinders, kindness is like those Andes mints. It’s the little extra something special topping off a wonderful time. Feeling like Jack, in the movie Titanic; we’re “King of the World,” invincible.
On the other hand, life at times is traveling in steerage. Things aren’t going swimmingly; they’re falling out of and not into place. In those situations the Andes mints of kindness are sources of refreshment our starved souls need.
It’s easy to spot those who life is trampling down. Posture, body language, facial expressions, tone of voice and words spoken scream “I’m hurting.” Go a step further and you’ll find people so beaten down they’ll accept abusive treatment. Proverbs 27:7 explains that “to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.”  Negative attention is better than nothing at all. Feelings of unworthiness can also prevent people from experiencing genuine kindness; this is unfortunate.
            Judging only by appearances is faulty. Several years ago I watched a program about the life of the late comedian, Chris Farley. I knew his work from the movie Coneheads. Chris was a class clown and life of the party, making people laugh. He appeared to be the epitome of success, but inside his life was spiraling downward. After a night on the town he’d drag himself to morning Mass. Fascinated with angels and the supernatural, it appeared to me he was searching for something else, perhaps God. I don’t know that Chris ever encountered Him. Despite all his success Chris committed suicide. The outward actions and persona masked the internal turmoil and desperation.
            People don’t always advertise their pain. Some believe no one would care even if they knew. Others don’t wish to burden people who have their own problems. To some, expressing feelings they may not understand is difficult. The walking wounded are everywhere, some are just harder to recognize.
            My point is, everyone benefits from kindness. We may never know what a small act of love and attention means to someone. Those who look like they have it all may be the neediest. A word of encouragement, a hug, a phone call or email, a card or a small gift may seem insignificant. To a person starved for attention, they're more than an Andes mint, they’re a whole meal. Whether someone is easy to like or difficult to deal with, try a little tenderness, it could save their life.

1 comment:

  1. Being kind is such a great attribute. I believe that someone's silence may be the loudest cry of all. The hardest people to love are usually the ones who need it the most.