The Gift of Kindness



Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.

— Mother Teresa

A string of pink and red balloons waves high in the air, visible from the road a mile away. They fly, tied to the top of a 15 x 15-foot open air tent, calling attention to the temporary marketplace in the parking lot, just outside the grocery's main entrance.

It's Valentine's Day. Churches were decorated for Sweetheart Dinners last Sunday. On Tuesday, flowers and balloon bouquets were loaded early in the morning onto delivery trucks. Kids all around the country drop valentines into decorated shoeboxes for their classmates. And, on their way home, last-minute shoppers can pull up to the white tent and grab a potted red geranium, a box of chocolates, and a bottle of champagne.

Nothing is too good for a sweetheart. In the age of the Internet, there are endless ideas for that perfect gift to communicate your amore. At Amore' on the Net you can find it all in one spot. Two chubby cherubs drop little hearts down the page, dragging visitors below to a pulsing heart and a list of perfect Valentine's Day ideas.

Even Chef Emeril Lagase isn't afraid to “kick it up a notch” with his “special treats for your loved ones.” Who wouldn't feel loved being served banana chocolate bread pudding with mint créme anglaise?

I'm a great fan of food, and I must admit, banana chocolate bread pudding with mint créme anglaise prepared a la Chef Emeril wins the day over such extravaganzas like the giant human-sized stuffed red teddy bear I saw a man carry to his car.

Valentine's Day is a great reminder of just how important it is to tell people we love just how important they are to us. And, in a year where we have dedicated ourselves at FROM THE HOME FRONT to a consideration of love, it seems appropriate to ask…

Why can't every day be Valentine's Day?

Imagine buying the perfect Valentine's Day gift, worth a million dollars, but costing you only a moment of thoughtfulness. A renewable gift. No shopping required. Handy at every moment, just when you need it, in unlimited quantities… every day of the year.

Give the gift of kindness.

Love is patient, Love is kind. (1 Corinthians 13:4)

Love is a choice… a choice to be patient and kind. Who can't afford such a luxury in a modern world where we are supposed to have everything?

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. (Mother Teresa)

How nice it is to be greeted in the morning with a kiss and a “Good morning, I love you.”

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. (Mother Teresa)

Smile. How wonderful to be greeted by the smiles, even of perfect strangers, during the day when the daily battle has worn us down!

Look in their eyes.

Pause … Stop … listen. Listen.

Listen: Do not have an opinion while you listen because frankly, your opinion doesn't hold much water outside of Your Universe. Just listen. Listen until their brain has been twisted like a dripping towel and what they have to say is all over the floor. (Hugh Elliott)

Without holding your response in your mouth, waiting for your turn to speak… listen.

Love is kind.

I would give up receiving a dozen, dozen red roses, just to have one person spend a week devoted to kindness in my honor. You? How hard it is to listen with an empty mouth! Yet, motivated by love, I think I just might be able to manage.

We must give what we hope to receive. Let it begin with us.

Love is kind.

Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. (Mother Teresa)

A former elementary school teacher, Jane Jimenez (e-mail) is now a freelance writer dedicated to issues of importance to women and the family. She writes a regular column titled “From the Home Front.” Her work has appeared in both Christian and secular publications. Jane and her husband Victor live in Phoenix and have two children.

(This article courtesy of Agape Press.)

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