Living a life with love and kindness

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We grow in strength and harmony with our desires and move from strength to strength. We increase our strength in direct relationship with our will. This shapes our future. I, along with God, am responsible for my life. I view carefully the road ahead. I clear any obstacle that has a chance to inhibit my progress. If I face something unclearable, I take a different path and continue on my road. I’m not perfect. No one can claim perfection, but the major benchmarks of my life have turned into stepping stones, and I am grateful.

I’ve selected three elements of our being to explore: life, love and kindness. For me they are three crucial challenges.

Life itself presents choices as individuals move through various stages. They differ considerably depending on age, family income, and individual motivation. Some people often see aging, the process of getting older and into “retirement,” as a loss. Sustaining influence as one faces older periods of life becomes difficult. Roles change, responsibilities dwindle. A strong positive self-image assists in coping with what is often a sudden switch in needed medical care. This loss of control over one’s life tends to increase psychological and physiological distress and anxiety. One needs to have some considerable measure of savings, membership in a religious congregation, and have planned your will and wishes well in advance.

Choice is crucial in enhancing a sense of control. In order to move through life successfully at any stage, one must make good choices. It’s a lot more than birth, work and death. Regardless of age, the intelligent consideration of positive choices becomes essential. Family has much to contribute. You decide what to buy into.

The most significant and important decision of my life involved the selection of a mate. I have never regretted that decision.

What’s your wish? Embrace the family values, live by family rules, emulate the prior generation or go off on your own, finding your way, manufacturing your future, making your own rules, living for self and others. No matter your current age, there is much less anxiety if one plans ahead. Do you choose to energize your brain with new information or strong drink? If it’s the latter, get help! Avoid all addictive substances. Conquer your fears, grow stronger and move from strength to strength.

Love becomes an essential quality in your life. Without it, you are nothing, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13 (MSG). So, if you live in the most wonderful house on the block with the most beautiful garden, have an IQ approaching 200 and give most of your income to the poor but are without love, you find yourself as “nothing.” So, no matter what I say, what I believe and what I do I am bankrupt without love (13:4).

I learned the real meaning of love when I married this wonderful person named Diane. She has loved me, tolerated me, helped me, and raised six children, all of whom turned out to be exceptional human beings. After 83 years of life, including 63 years of marriage, she is wonderful in every respect.

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end (13:5-7).

Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love (13:13b).

Love demands time and energy. It provides support in the face of grief, care in a time of loss, presence in the face of fear, fellowship in a time of recovery, and prayer in a time of confession.

There’s not enough kindness in this world. If you want more, you have to put it there. You do that with a soft voice, a genuine spirit without any judgmentalism or corrective language, but a modeling of a relationship designed to be helpful.

Do you walk through life with an ever present smile in your heart? Does it demand visibility in your eyes and on your lips? Does it ever erupt in contagious laughter as you enjoy some aspect of life. I suspect you are naturally kind.

As John O’Donohue wrote: “The world can be harsh and negative, but if we remain generous and patient, kindness inevitably reveals itself. Something deep in the human soul seems to depend on the presence of kindness. Kindness has gracious eyes; it is not small minded or competitive; it wants nothing back for itself. Kindness strikes a resonance with the depths of your own heart; it also suggests that your vulnerability, though somehow exposed, is not taken advantage of; rather, it has become an occasion for dignity and empathy.”

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