I have had the privilege of Monika’s company, as my wife, for 54 years. She knows me better than I know myself, and she still stays with me. You would think, after 53 years she would be an expert regarding my eating habits … right?
• Every day Monika asks me the same question — “Are you hungry yet?” This question usually is asked between 4:30 and 5 p.m. I always have the same answer, which is “I am always hungry.” Maybe she is hoping for a different answer, just for a change. Maybe she wants to hear, “Let’s go out for dinner.”
• Perhaps a long-term, rewarding marriage is totally comfortable with tradition and sameness, in general. Sometimes I try to complicate something that is not complicated at all. Maybe tonight I will say, “I am absolutely not hungry,” just to see the look on her face.
• Negative experiences in life probably help us to understand what kindness really is. When you lose a job, the kindness of being employed and able to pay your bills becomes suddenly crystal clear to you.
• Losing a loved one reminds you of the kindness they provided in your life. The loss of any love helps us to remember the joy and bliss that love offers.
• Kindness is a great friend. It allows you to face each day with an optimistic heart. Kindness encourages you to overcome negative people and negative experiences.
• Very negative people probably enjoy any kindness they receive, but they don’t expect it to happen too often. Their “ain’t life awful” beliefs do not permit them to appreciate kindness very long. If anything, they are very suspicious of people’s intentions, even when others treat them kindly.
• When I am in the company of very negative people, I am really not there. Their attitudes and beliefs turn me off quickly. Within a few moments, I am gone. These negative people are good teachers. They teach me that kindness is a better way to act. I learn from the kind ones that acting kind makes you feel better and kind acts are appreciated and remembered.
• The Cherokee talk about doing seven kind acts for others for each act of kindness you receive. They are right … kindness should, and does, beget more kindness.
• When is the last time you were kind to your wife? When did you take over one or two of her responsibilities to make her life easier? Have you drawn her a bath or brought her some unexpected flowers in recent months? Have you ever surprised her with a full day to a spa resort where people are kind to her for several hours?
• It’s time for you to arrange for her to get away on a fun trip by herself or with her best girlfriend for at least a couple of days. Arrange for her to get away from you, the kids, the cooking, and the telephone. Surprise her with kindness that has no ulterior intention … just be kind to her because she deserves it.
• The “Spirituality Health” magazine featured an article titled, “The Hunger for Emotional Intimacy,” by Brene Brown. In the article, she states, “The overwhelming message in our culture today is that an ordinary life is a meaningless life unless you are grabbing a lot of attention and you have lots of Twitter followers and Facebook fans who know everything you know.” Brene goes on to say, “I definitely see it in the younger generations, where people fear they are not big enough. No matter how happy and fulfilling their small, quiet life is, they feel it must not mean very much, because it’s not the way people are measuring success. Which is just terrifying.”
• A quiet life with little outside attention seems the way to go, for me. I could live without a telephone, and I never understood the need for an answering machine. If people really need to get hold of a person, they will find a way.
• I have no idea what a “Facebook” is. I have never twittered anyone. The word “twitter” appears at the bottom of my “Heard over the Back Fence” column. I don’t know how or when it was placed there, and I don’t need to know why. Sometimes ignorance is bliss!
• I wish all of you a quiet life, filled with passion.
Bob Billingsley is a columnist at the Mountain Democrat. His column appears bi-weekly.