trading niceness

Friday, March 2, 2012

The other day as the children and I were driving around town doing errands, we were listening to a story on the value of love and compassion, and I heard this phrase. My mind wandered from the story and I began to wonder. Much of our experiences consist of just this, we go through ours days exchanging niceties, at the library, grocery store, with our neighbors. Do I love, or do I trade niceness with others? What happens to my "charity" if the person I am dealing with is not very charitable in return. Does my own offering dry up? Do I connect with people on a deeper level? Is my heart open enough to receive what might be out there waiting to be given? Greater still, is my heart giving all it can or simply going through the motions? There is nothing wrong with this, but there is not much depth either. 

Some days I feel as though I don't have much to offer - small niceties are all that's left, sometimes there is no water in the well. It is then that we need most to dig deep. We discover that we make a difference, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential. I want to be able to do so much more than hand you a small trinket in the hopes that you will return one to me. I want to be able to serve and love and offer everything I have, especially when I feel empty, for that is what will fill the well the fastest. There is strength and a silent, humble vision of potential in this, when we live true to the way we were created.

This may not be a possibility all of the time. There are moments when we simply do just that, exchange one niceness for another, and that is enough, that is all the occasion calls for. For the most part these exchanges make up a very big part of our lives. But we need to be able to give more than that when more is required. We need to be able to offer an open heart to those who need a friend, to be able to offer an open mind to those who might need our attention, our help, or our hands. We need to stop exchanging niceness for niceness sake. We need to love those around us, therein dwells the niceness, the kind that comes from the soul and we begin to live at a higher level, not above another, but higher than we were before. 

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