Luab: Kindness in many forms

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By Evelyn R. Luab

Light Sunday

Saturday, February 1, 2014


YOU are kind to a beggar when you give alms. You feel his need and you become generous.

You are kind to your helper when you see to it that she gets enough rest and is not given more work beyond her strength. You are being humane.

You are kind to your colleague or office mate when everyone else looks down on her because she is poor. You are sympathetic.

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You are kind to someone who is wounded while you swab the wound with antiseptic as tenderly as you can. You are being gentle.

Kindness really comes in many forms. Perhaps we can change at least our community by being kind when talking about our friends who are absent.

Better still, we can be kind by rising to the defense of one friend who is being maligned in her absence. In short, this bad trait of gossiping should be eliminated from the past time of so many Filipinos. What is really sad is the fact that lately even some of our men have learned to gossip.

For women, I guess the temptation to share a happening, especially a sad happening, becomes a show of power. This may not be consciously noted by the speaker, but gossiping is meant to show that “I have knowledge that you don’t have; therefore I have one over you!” Sad but often times true.

The statements normally go like this: “Juan just broke off with Clara. He is seeking an annulment so he can marry Dora, 20 years younger than he is. Poor Clara is devastated. She was the last person to know what was going on.” Another example could go like this: “He is not as solid financially as he seems. It’s really his brother that is supporting him and his family.”

These two examples are only the icing of a very large cake, which can cause indigestion for the listeners as well as the speaker himself. Why?

Because news like these are horribly unkind. What really is the point of passing news like these? There is a saying which has already become a cliché: “If you can’t say something good, close your lips and don’t say a word.”

I remember someone excusing gossip as plain conversation. “Everybody knows it anyway, so we are not passing on new information.”

Okay, let’s note the difference [between these two scenarios]: “Pets are loved. Our neighbor’s dog died and we too grieved as they buried their pet.” Now compare this to: “This friend of mine always borrows from me and she has become a pest. You know who she is too.” Need I say more?

There are really occasions when one is forced to borrow money. There is a saying that when it rains, it generally pours. “I remember a time when someone was terminated [i.e. fired] from work due to the company’s desire to cut labor cost. He had a family to support.

Of course, he had to borrow money during the times when his family was in dire need. However, after a certain length of time, he was able to recover financially. He paid off his debts after a time.”

There are many venues in which one is privy to gossip even about strangers. Take a public transportation. Chances are, one can hear about Clara being beaten by a very drunk Juan. Go and have your hair fixed. Where women abound, gossip thrives.

Why did I zero in on gossip? Because all of us, including myself, can be tempted to add a word or two when the unkind news being passed gets to be interesting. Oh, we have fallen, you and I in moments of weakness. In hindsight, we realize that we did wrong. In the confessional, we are tasked to remove this unkindness from what the priest calls our laundry list of sins. This New Year, we owe it to our brothers that we remember to be kind.

Some of our grandparent s say kindness starts from good genes or kindness comes from good breeding. Today we also say kindness can rub off from people who show us through their examples how it is to be kind.

We have the best model. The Bible tells us about Jesus being kind so many times in so many ways. Jesus fed the hungry, cured the sick and was very gentle in relating to sinners.

Can we too show by example how to be humane, how to be compassionate, how to be kind?

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 02, 2014.

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