God’s Word is so much smarter than I am. I struggle to find a good life, yet He’s already figured it all out.  I just need to follow.

My child, never forget the things I have taught you.
    Store my commands in your heart.
If you do this, you will live many years,
    and your life will be satisfying.
Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
    Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
    Write them deep within your heart.
Then you will find favor with both God and people,
    and you will earn a good reputation. – Prov. 3:1-4

Write loyalty and kindness deep in my heart.  Let them grow deep.  Be loyal … Be kind … To the very core of who I am.

Interesting how they are to go together … Loyalty AND Kindness … like salt and pepper … salsa and chips … Lucy and Ethel.

Corny, analogies … sorry … but the point is that some things are not the same by themselves. Loyalty without kindness or kindness without loyalty … they just don’t add up to the same animal.

Loyalty without kindness becomes a burden … a heavy duty … where’s the fun in that? Especially for the receiver.

Kindness without loyalty is fleeting … anchored in whims rather than ongoing commitment.

The problems with loyalty and with kindness are that if only given out to those in my life who deserve it, who would I be loyal to?  Who would I be kind to?  Everyone has thorns in their roses … should I really be gracious to those who may cut me in return?

Of a different flavor, I think loyalty has become a dirty word in the world at present.  It implies sticking with people no matter what. I work with preteens and teens where loyalty means, “don’t snitch,” “don’t back out on a friend.” No. Matter. What.

Be careful ... loyalty should never be twisted to force someone to stay in a situation where he or she is being harmed or controlled. Loyalty means nothing if it is harnessed to evil or foolish actions. Loyalty is a path of bitterness unless true kindness is part of the recipe.

KINDNESS PUT TO THE TEST:

Three years ago My Guy ended up in the hospital for 29 days. The first two weeks were scary: a coma … discovery of a tumor … discouraging diagnoses. During the entire time, hundreds of people, many of them strangers, prayed for us.

And in all of the praying one thought rose above the others … BE KIND.  Advocate for My Guy, but be kind. Don’t be the angry, demanding, know-it-all spouse.  “A gracious woman retains honor.” 

If that was God talking to me, He was saying something loud and clear … don’t worry about people being kind to me when I feel so needy. Instead … ME! … I am the one to stay kind. Tired, scared, stretched, vulnerable, uncertain, me. Act in kindness.

Grumpy nurses (only a few), confusing specialists, medical professionals whose eyes mocked my faith and determination to stay hopeful … be kind to them.  Appreciate everything that was being done.  Recognize that in the case of My Guy’s health, we are all on the same team … so stay kind.

I had to pray a lot … ask for strength many times. But I did pray and did ask. As a result, what felt like supernatural help set in, and even though overwhelmed, kindness found its way out of my mouth more times than not.

Now I am advocating for another family member. It seems a little harder to focus on kindness this time around.  Maybe because I’m surrounded by familiar faces … last time I was more or less on my own.  People pleasing tendencies are rising up. In trying to make everyone happy, fear and frustration are trying to strangle the kindness … to make the loyalty about the wrong things.

Then God starts speaking again … Go deep! Loyalty AND Kindness … GO DEEP!

Here is a picture that offers a look back at that first, great test of loyalty AND kindness … 

Photo on 3-21-15 at 3.54 AM
Taken at 4:00 AM (March 21, 2015), My Guy sits reading the “guest book” created while he was in his coma. Our best day yet, so far. So much laughter and praise coming from him.

And here is my view at present …
Changing My World - Loyalty and Kindness

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