Last month after the Fix the Hurt Board of Directors meeting several of us were talking. Two were Domestic Violence survivors. One had just recently gotten out and we were saying that now is the time to heal and get on with life, because there are other good people out there looking to start over and build a happy life. The most recent to get out said, “I really don’t know how to trust or even screen anyone.”
The reply from the other survivor, for some reason, stopped me in my tracks. His reply was, “You must find someone who is kind.”
I thought to myself, “That is just too simple.” I thought about honesty, commitment, benevolence, grace, courtesy, mercy, service, indulgence, attentiveness. And then I stopped in my tracks, again. I thought to myself, “aren’t those just some of the traits of a kind person?” Do you notice the absence of physical qualities? I have said nothing about beauty, handsome, buff, cute, rich, although those qualities don’t have to be detrimental.
So, I agree with Carl, that kindness is the most important trait to search for. Now, how the heck do you determine true kindness in a person? It is not easy for a number of reasons. First, there are probably a lot of kind people out there that are afraid, too. They may be afraid to show kindness because of the way they have been treated. They may be afraid to accept acts of kindness for the same reason.
I am married to a kind lady and she looks for ways to be kind. One day she was driving from the store in our neighborhood and saw an old lady having trouble pushing her grocery cart along the sidewalk. She pulled into a driveway, got out and asked, “Is there anything I can do to help you?” She was across the sidewalk in the driveway. The elderly lady replied, “Yes! You can get the hell out of my way!”
I suspect this lady was suspicious of any acts of kindness, because through the years she had come to feel she was not worthy of genuine acts of kindness.
My grown daughter got a little cocker spaniel dog, named Tennessee. It had been miserably mistreated by the owner’s kids. Fire crackers set off in its ears, feet tied and thrown into the pool, and so on. For months after she got Tennessee, the dog would not come from under the bed without hours of coaxing. Any effort to show kindness sent it back under the bed.
In the case of finding this huge bundle of endearing qualities associated with kindness, it take a well-balanced mixture of courage, patience, strength and caution. Each part of the mixture is critical and none may be ignored.
Be courageous enough to start the search. Be strong enough to withstand the temptation to get in too deep before you know for sure. Be cautious, do not rush and read the signs wrong. Be patient and make sure it will stand the test of time. My wife deals in these cases on a daily basis and I said, “But how do you know.” Her answer was, “Oh well, it has to stand the test of time. It must endure at least a year. It must be tested in every season.
In the case of Survivor, Carl, who has a wonderful life now, I believe he said they dated for several years before they were married.
If you get discouraged, remember the little cocker spaniel, while he had courage, patience, strength and caution, he wisely spent time until he finally found someone kind and loving and had a wonderful life being friends with my daughter.