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The Kindness Pledge

Story ID:3686
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Lakewood Ohio USA
Year:2000
Person:Suzana
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What do you do on a Monday morning when you don't feel like doing what you
should? Naturally you read. And then what? You write. There are so many
interesting things to share. But before I do that, I wondered if anyone had
any practical tips on home insurance. I was disappointed when I received
my bill and my home value was appreciated. I was shocked because current
home values have gone down because of the housing slump. Don't the insurance
companies know this? Of course they do, but when I called them, I got the same
mumble jumble about there being a rider on my policy which allows for a yearly rate
increase and that the new appraisal amount was still only 80% of replacement costs.
Well, this week, I will go to the competitor who is within walking distance and bring
him my policies and ask him if his company can do better.

I picked up "The Catholic Reader" which was put out in 2000 and has excellent
reviews. The reviewer was so talented with the reviews that I wanted to buy almost
all the books and I'm not even a book reader!

One of the reviews I came across had "THE KINDNESS PLEDGE " by Father Lawrence Lovasik.
It was taken from his book entitled "The Hidden Power of Kindness." Years ago I had
read and heard much about Father and his writings and to me he was like a present-
day Max Lucato who inspires us with his lofty thoughts and words of spiritual wisdom.
I tried looking up something about Father Lovasik on the internet but only found
reviews of his books. I believe Father has gone to his eternal reward but his words
will always be a part of his legacy on earth. I was impressed by his simple KINDNESS
PLEDGE which I hope to print and tuck in my prayer book with the hope of practicing
it daily. Easy? By no means - at least for me.

I RESOLVE TO:

Speak kindly of someone
at least once a day.

Think kindly about
someone at least once a day

Act kindly toward
someone at least once a day.

Avoid speaking
unkindly of anyone.

Avoid speaking
unkindly to anyone.

Avoid acting
unkindly toward anyone.

What a simple pledge. It certainly can be summed up by simply saying
I will be kind today. But by enumerating the nuances of kindness, one is more
apt to remember what it means to be kind.

I watched Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility last night and I was enthralled
by the wonderful character she developed in Elinor Dashwood. I have a new respect for
Jane Austen because she herself must have been spiritually gifted to have been able
to draw a picture of one who possessed such sterling qualities which most of us could
only hope for. Throughout the story Elinor handles all the negative vicissitudes of life
with a wonderful aplomb -- never ever losing her poise and peaceful demeanor -- though
admitting they often caused her pain. Elinor, in my view, practiced the PLEDGE OF
KINDNESS so well each and every day. I hope there are people like her in every
day life. No, cross that out. I know there are people like her in everyday life.

Why? -another wonderful review: "ORDINARY SUFFERING OF EXTRAORDINARY SAINTS."
In the reviever's own words: "That's right: this is a book about saints who went through just
what you're going through. Skeptical? Let's see: can you name the saint who had trouble
with her in-laws? The one who was a compulsive gambler? Two saints who were divorced?
One who was an alcoholic? Two others who were single parents (including one who had
an illegitimate child)? Three who were victims of spousal abuse? Another who was a victim
of sexual harrassment? One who was mentally ill? One who was the subject of an attempted
seduction? Another who endured mugging?

And more: "Or what about the saints who were betrayed by those close to them? Another who
lacked self-confidence? Two saints who by worldy standards were spectacular failures? Your
children might enjoy learning about a saint who was a poor student --and another who was a
poor teacher."

I thought I knew many stories of the saints but the above had me scratching my head as
to being able to identify those who seemed to have the same every day problems we all
have. The one who came easily to mind was St. Maria Goretti who was the subject of an
attempted seduction. I believe too that my beloved St. Francis was probably considered
a spectacular failure by his own father and probably the whole town of Assisi. I believe
that Matt Talbot was an alcoholic but I thought he had not yet been declared a saint. Were
you able to connect descriptions to any saints?

Well, I am encouraged by the above captioning of seemingly ordinary people who overcame
their demons and became saints. We all can be saints with a small "s" if we follow the
teachings of Christ. To be a saint with a capital "S" takes more but the above were not
born saints and if they could do it, so can we. That should give us comfort. And for those
who are not Christian, I hope you also aspire to be better and holier whatever your beliefs.

Last review which caught my eye: "IN CELEBRATION OF THE SEASON." The editor loaned
this book to a friend with a large Catholic family and asked her to take it for a spin.
Her impressions of it: "I was reading this cookbook and drooling for upwards of half an
hour" she told him. She hadn't realized that they were all vegetarian recipes but still was
amazed at their quality. I laughed when I read that she remarked that maybe there was some
truth in the old Medieval legend which said that some women dressed up as monks and
entered the monastery so that the monks would cook for them every night.

The recipes in Brother Victor-Antoine's cookbook are authentic French recipes which don't
require esoteric ingredients or impossible preparation techniques. The friend also noted
that the recipes were all easy to make and don't rely on the precooked, dehydrated foods that
mar many "easy recipe" cookbooks.

She also noted that few of the recipes would take longer than twenty to forty minutes to make
and best of all, most of the recipes were authentically good for you because they depend heavily
on fresh fruits and vegetables. I was intrigued, but as a vegan, I was sure that eggs, butter,
milk or cream were used and of course, vegans don't use these animal products. However, I
appreciate that the these monks are still probably vegetarian. We could learn from them.