Kindness. I must have been four or five years old when it happened. It happens to most kids at one time or another. I stepped on a piece of glass. I remember crying, probably more like screaming, when my father attempted to get it out of my foot.
“No, no, Dad! Don’t touch it!” I remember screaming.
“Lynne, sit still! I have to get it out!” my frustrated father replied.
“No! Not! You! I want Nana to do it!” At some point he must have resigned himself to the fact that if the glass were coming out of my foot, his mother was going to have to be the one to remove it, because my next memory was my Nana working on removing that piece of glass.
So you may be wondering what special skills my grandmother had – was she a surgeon? No. General practioner, then? No. Okay, how about a nurse? No. Any kind of first aid training at all that would make her qualified to remove offending glass from tiny, delicate foot? Not particularly.
But my Nana was trustworthy and kind. I knew that if it did hurt, then there was no other way to get it done. And she did get it done. I am pretty sure I cried, and she consoled, and it was all better regardless of whether it hurt because it was Nana.
I was reminded of my grandmother’s kindness as I worked on a talk I will be giving for a mother/daughter luncheon. If there were unkindness in her, it just didn’t show. At least that’s how it was in all the years I knew her. My father, well, he says my grandmother isn’t the same woman who raised him and he has muttered things about brooms and beatings – but if there is any truth at all to that, I would guess then he probably really, really deserved it.
I never saw her be unkind to anyone – even when people hurt her or the ones she loved. And more amazing, I never heard her say anything unkind to or about anyone. Oh, how I wish I could say that about myself! How I wish there were a kindness gene that got passed down, woven into my DNA, that would make me inherently kind; but, sadly for me, most times I have to work at being kind.
I wish my Nana were still alive, now that I have lived enough years to fully appreciate the depth and impact of her example, because I would love to ask her how she did it. When my grandmother died, she didn’t have a lot of stuff to leave her grandkids. No big bank accounts, or precious heirlooms. No fancy degrees or list of accomplishments. In fact, if I were to write her obituary today, I think I would say something like this:
Nana Rose is survived by many who loved her and she will be dearly missed. She was a loving woman, a great cook and she could be trusted to be kind.
I want to be trusted to be kind, don’t you? Now that’s a legacy.
A kindhearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth. Proverbs 11:16