I love the quote which goes “In a world where you can be anything, be kind”- unknown. Simple and to the point it sums up a beautiful message.
And I try. I really, really, really do try. It is just the unkindness in some people that makes this so incredibly difficult.
I watched for years how people took advantage of my parents and their kindness. And I suppose it made me a little harder than I should be. My mother-in-law is not very generous (understatement of the century) and yet hubby is always keen to extend generosity to them. And I should be proud of this. Not bristle and grit my teeth and explode when they go home.
We had them over for a braai on Saturday. MIL said the last one they had been to was on the weekend we took them away on in March. An all expenses paid treat they took full advantage of and which resulted in me requiring copious amounts of wine to get through (and recover from). If that was a hint for a repeat they are to be sorely disappointed.
But I digress. It was a lovely evening where we supplied everything needed for the braai, all the meat, everything needed for the sandwhiches, refreshments and a huge salad. They brought a milktart which was nice. But not enough for MIL. Oh no, before leaving she had to mention they were raising funds for their Bowls Club. I’ve never bought a ticket so expensive before but hubby saw fit to buy two! I’m used to spending money on a night out. I’m not used to my wallet getting emptier when I stay home and entertain.
And I was a grumpy wife for Sunday to say the least.
I think it was very kind of hubby to support his parents Bowls club. Why could I not just feel the same about generosity for their struggling club which means so much to them?
Because all I could see when we handed over hundreds of Rands was all the past stinginess from MIL. And I couldn’t move past that. And then I remembered numerous times my parents were taken advantage of, panicked we had the same to look forward to and lost my cool.
Showing the person who means the most to me, how awful I can be.
But it isn’t just his family.
For the past few years I’ve lent an aunt of mine books. Around 60 different books I’ve bought. I’ve put together stacks of fiction and even dropped it off by her. Every birthday I give her a nice voucher from a bookstore and last year she bought a book which I was keen to buy but didn’t when I heard she’d purchased it. I’ve waited months for her to read it and lend it and she just hasn’t. She happily collected a big pile of my books the other day, returned the old ones and said she hadn’t included her book as she hadn’t read it. I’ve lent brand new books before and pretended it was okay. But it isn’t and I’ve been simmering about it since. My aunt is the epitome of selfish – has taken advantage of my parents for years and nobody stands up to her. She gets away with it year in and year out. I told my mother and she said my father agreed it wasn’t right. She uses me as a personal library and my uncle makes unnecessary comments and tries to make who reads the most in a year into a competition. My aunt attends every family dinner, bringing as little as possible and doing even less.
She e-mailed me the other day to say she’d enjoyed one of the books and didn’t know which to choose next. I.e reading her own book so that I could borrow it was not on her immediate to-do list.
And she expects me to keep lending just like MIL will expect us to continue to buy annual tickets to their lucky draws.
In a world where you can be anything why doesn’t everyone realise kindness is an option?