Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

Nice Ain’t Kind

on April 21, 2014

The girls and I attended the Easter Vigil Mass this past Saturday night.  Of course it was beautiful and uplifting in every way.  We sang my absolute favorite hymn,”O Filii et Filiae” (well, it’s tied with “Salve Regina”, but they’re both so beautiful, I can’t elevate one over the other) and Iseult managed to not catch her hair on fire (don’t ask).

Anyhoo, I found my mind wandering a little bit (I know…I know..) during the baptisms, to thinking about “nice” and “kind”.

You know what?  I don’t really care about “nice” – it’s just a bland synonym for “pleasant”, which is a far better word anyway.  Thing is, “nice” and “kind” are often used interchangeably with regard to people.  And that’s a mistake.

To be “nice” all you have to do is use your manners (or learn some if you don’t have any) and basically adopt a fairly milquetoast (or at least non-confrontational)  attitude and Voila – nice is done.

Kindness, on the other hand, is a tough quality to cultivate.  It is fueled by compassion, empathy, generosity, and often, forgiveness, as well as humility.  It also requires mercy, which I think is one of the single most underrated virtues and one of the hardest to live out – and therein lies the rub, because mercy requires an understanding and acceptance  of one’s own failings.

I really have no interest in being a nice person.  “Nice” is easy but ultimately barren.  Kindness, that’s something worth striving for because it affects others in a positive manner.  It’s a quality worth developing and I’m going work on that.

Does this mean I’m about to turn in a dour old sourpuss, incapable of appreciating inappropriate T-shirts and delete the Eminem tunes from my MP3 player?

Uh, not!  But I’ve been wrapped up in a hard cold battle, full of resentment and pain and anger and hurt for a long time and it’s taken a terrible toll on me.  Sure, I’m still nice enough.  That’s nothing to be proud of.  I can do better.

 


9 responses to “Nice Ain’t Kind

  1. FuzzieWuzzie says:

    I didn’t find any videos of bears doing acts of kindness. I did find a lot of “Naughty Bear” videos and they’re not nice at all. Maybe this is in the right frame.

    • Maeve says:

      Fuzzie, trust you to find something just teeming with cuteness overload!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think I could go into a diabetic coma on the basis of these videos you find. 🙂

      • FuzzieWuzzie says:

        Maeve, it’s because you’re walking the straight and narrow road. In all honesty, I don’t know how you’re doing it. So, I try to send a little kindness your way.

  2. Recently I worked my way back through your blog and read every post. I imagine you are more kind than you give yourself credit for.

    The point though is to keep moving forward, more kindness, more love, more grace and mercy.

    • Maeve says:

      omigoodness – you read all the way back to my rantyness about shoe storage, LOL. (yes, to my everlasting shame, I’m still wrestling with the situation).

      You are so correct that by moving forward and cultivating those very qualities you mention, we can become the best of who we are. You know, I never want to be one of those types who “can’t understand what the fuss is all about”; I do want to understand why someone would be hurt or discouraged; I do want to understand that it isn’t just “fuss”. Not sure if I’m explaining myself very well or not.

  3. “Does this mean I’m about to turn in a dour old sourpuss, incapable of appreciating inappropriate T-shirts and delete the Eminem tunes from my MP3 player?”

    Well, maybe you should consider that last one…

    • Maeve says:

      Yes, I think about that sometimes – it’s angry music.

      • Angry music is fine – I live on Alice in Chains and Nirvana and such. It’s just … Eminem. ;P

        I’m all about the inappropriate t-shirts, too

      • Maeve says:

        LOL – I know he’s over the top in many ways, but “Lose Yourself” always gets me moving – sometimes need to work out my frustrations.

        True T-Shirt Story – the H only used the expression “I forbid you” one time in the entire 29 years I’ve known him – and it was in conjunction to a T-shirt I saw that said “I had to give up jogging…it proved to be hazardous to my health…the friction from my inner-thigh rub caused my underwear to catch fire.” Nearly sent me over the edge with laughter – the H was appalled. And it’s not like I had any inner thigh rub or anything, but it still makes me laugh just thinking about it.

        (I don’t think that’s a good example of an inappropriate T-shirt actually – a little on the tame side – JMHO)

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