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How Kind Hearts Change the World

Updated on March 2, 2015

Putting Words Into Action

Think BEFORE You Speak

Yesterday was one of most difficult but enlightening days of my life. I learned lessons that I never imagined could be so deeply ingrained, that I truly believe they will never be forgotten. When I am in a space where others demonstrated dignity and love to everyone around them, I leave a changed person. I feel that I encounter the heart of God in those moments.

I was with a family I have known for years. I learned that you never know what a family is made of until you are with them in the toughest moments. I didn't learn that from being in a family as a child. We shared little, restrained our true feelings out of fear, and certainly didn't discuss anything uncomfortable corporately. How grateful I am to be adopted into many families who are willing to talk about the tough stuff....Hoorah for grace!

As this family was facing the loss of someone who they believed "held them all together for years", there seemed to be an unspoken heaviness which emerged as they choked back tears. We discussed the funeral, the memorial service, the difficult things openly and honestly, as each one talked to her in her last moments. It seemed that it was untimely in some ways, yet real in others.

It seems we are all too often enthralled with our own competency, particularly when it comes to "managing" other people. Hopefully, at some point we will be humbled enough to recognize our inability to escape our own illusion of "having it all together" and choose to make the transition to grace in our dealings with others.

The inspired author of the book of James elaborates on the characteristics of the uncontrolled tongue. It is described as being able to start a blaze that is difficult to put out. I imagine that applies to gossip, criticism, slander and blame, all quite discouraging and unfruitful activity. It is also portrayed as being like the rudder of of a ship. I think that pertains to turning around negative feelings, emotions, actions, opinions and circumstances, and getting them back on course for the completion of a successful journey.

I love how words are used similarly in the above video, which in its completion brought tears to me. Just some valuable "food for thought!" Then again, It's your choice!

As we go through our days, no matter what they bring, I think there is always room for improvement in our hearts, thoughts, and expressions, verbal or non-verbal.

As I paused and thought about it, I processed the truth of those words, as they applied to my interaction with my friends and family. These are my thoughts:

1. Facing trauma is never easy. If you can't empathize, keep your lips sealed. Do them a favor, and don't hurt them further.

2. People want to be held, not fixed when life broadsides them. If you think you need to give advice during these moments, hold your breath. Take a walk if you must and consider what you might say, before you approach others. Better yet, converse with God, who can change your mind, your words and your actions.

3. When people are hurting they sometimes talk about things that won't make any sense to you. It's quite possibly part of their denial, or inability to momentarily be unable to deal with devastating circumstances. It's also part of the grieving process, relinquishing and letting go of that which is treasured, whether it's a relationship, or even a familiar way of life. Don't discount the expression of fears they might be experiencing. Don't judge, move towards compassion. You don't know how you would act, so don't act like you do.

4. Be still, listen and observe long enough to evaluate hidden signals and body language. Much is said event when it may not be articulated. Follow their lead, and don't offer advice that doesn't soothe, just to make yourself feel better or less awkward.

5. Sometimes food is an appropriate comfort. It sustains weary people and gives them something to do. Don't say anything, eat something with them so they don't feel awkward. It won't kill you even if you are a health constituent.

6. Silence is appropriate, so leave it that way. Don't fill the airspace with meaningless drivel. It won't have any effect except irritation, and it might even make them more exhausted than they already are. Period.

7. Consider just sitting and letting people cry. In certain situations, it is needed. Let the tears flow, and avoid passing the tissue prematurely. Let the floodgates open for release, and then offer, but don't force them to stop expressing their pain appropriately. Deal with your own awkwardness or lack of compassion in these moments. Walk a mile in their shoes.

These seven tips are what I am now adopting as my checklist for myself in chaplaincy situations. I think they just might work everywhere else besides. How about you?

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    • SimpleGiftsofLove profile image
      Author

      SimpleGiftsofLove 5 years ago from Colorado

      Thanks Bernard, A great addition

    • sunkentreasure profile image

      BERNARD LEVINE 5 years ago from RUIMSIG, SOUTH AFRICA

      AWESOME LOVE By BERNARD LEVINE

      To go to the ends of the world

      to help a stranger

      To give someone incredible kindness

      they will never forget

      To treat animals and all of nature

      with respect and compassion

      These are the things that give life true purpose.

      To value your special uniqueness

      as a beautiful child of God

      To elevate your mind

      with the higher value of integrity

      To upgrade your living environment

      planting seeds to enrich the soul

      To give a child caring devotion

      so they feel they are loved

      To rise above your circumstances

      with faith in the power of God

      And with the purity of healing love

      in your heart

      your life will know no boundaries.

      © Bernard Levine

    • SimpleGiftsofLove profile image
      Author

      SimpleGiftsofLove 5 years ago from Colorado

      Bernard, not sure why my former reply did not post, but again, thanks for stopping by!

    • sunkentreasure profile image

      BERNARD LEVINE 5 years ago from RUIMSIG, SOUTH AFRICA

      BLESS SOMEONE TODAY By BERNARD LEVINE

      Bless someone today with words of kindness

      Do something nice for a friend

      Sow seeds of encouragement into a stranger's heart

      Tell your loved ones you greatly adore them

      Make someone's day precious and beautiful

      Give God praise for His greatness

      Strengthen your companion with fruits of joy

      Add faith to your neighbour's life

      Bless someone today and remember - Jesus loves you.

      © Bernard Levine

    • SimpleGiftsofLove profile image
      Author

      SimpleGiftsofLove 5 years ago from Colorado

      Thanks Dave....Putting it into practice is always a challenge!

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      very informative advice applicable year round.

    • SimpleGiftsofLove profile image
      Author

      SimpleGiftsofLove 5 years ago from Colorado

      Wow guys, you are so supportive, appreciate it. All gained through a difficult situation, but worth the growth! Appreciate your thoughts!

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Excellent advice. Thank you.

    • Sky9106 profile image

      Sky9106 5 years ago from A beautiful place on earth.

      Very nice Simplegifts. very thoughtful.

      I like this part: Silence is appropriate, so leave it that way.

      Bless.

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      Powerful, useful..and informative. We are with you. We try to see ourselves on those critical moments and we know how to handle it.We all have our own Universe and that means a lot...to dela with. Thanks SIMPLEGIFTS!

      LORD