Our beloved family dog is dying. But I’m not going to drag you through that tragedy; I want to share something gracious I’m learning through it.

Only yesterday our vet told us that our sweet golden retriever is very ill, and tonight we’re supposed to go out to dinner with some friends. I’m torn, because we’ve been scheduling, canceling, and rescheduling this dinner for six months, and part of me really wants to go. But part of me is dealing with the loss of the family dog. What I’m aware of in this moment is how often I need to put my soul aside in order to carry on with the demands of life. We all do. Life goes on, despite our personal struggles. You lose your father on a Wednesday; corporate America expects you back at the office Monday. It’s hard on the soul. It’s hard on our life with God.

But tonight I don’t need to put my soul aside. Our friends are understanding; we can reschedule. The question is, why is practicing kindness towards my own soul so unfamiliar that it would be easy to ignore something as precious as the death of our dog to “carry on with things?” This world requires us to keep going at such speeds that we end up having only one emotional state towards everything—a general, haggard, hazy condition of “on.” I’m on for this meeting; I’m on for this call with my mom; I’m on for the news the vet has. There’s no margin for anything else.

So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:6–8 NLT)

God is rich is kindness, and he has showered kindness on us. This is so lovely and life-giving, we need to pause and reflect on it. Kindness. Such a simple virtue, it often takes a back seat to more dramatic qualities like bravery, holiness, or love (kindness sort of feels like the younger stepchild to love). And yet kindness is such a wonderful thing to receive.

Don’t you love it when people are kind to you?

I sure do. In a world growing increasingly angry and hostile, a little bit of kindness can make your day.

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