A week ago our family took a vacation to the Magic Kingdom of Disneyland. We had perfect weather and perfect crowds. It truly seemed like the happiest place on earth with all the smiles and laughter coming from everyone. My husband and I love that place and were discussing why on our long car trip back to Utah. We noticed that everyone there wants to be there. Most people have worked hard and saved a lot of money to come and want to make the most of their experience. I made the comment that it is a place of non reality were you can escape your troubles. When we wondered further what makes us feel this way we recalled two things. First the impeccable cleanliness and second the kindness almost everyone expresses. From the ticket sales to the grounds keepers and guests most people are so kind. Experiencing so much kindness can fill ones heart with such joy and love no wonder it is hard to leave.
There is another kingdom where kindness is paramount; the celestial kingdom. "Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes...Kindness is the essence of a celestial life." Joseph B. Wirthlin. When I this week's talk it appeared to me that the non-reality of Disneyland can become a reality in our lives as we daily treat others with kindness. I believe that to the degree of kindness we show others we will be treated the same. Sometimes the kindness we show must start within ourselves. How can we see the good in others and the world around us if we cannot be kind to ourselves or to those in our most intimate circle, the home? Elder Wirthlin also said this, "Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others. Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes." I am grateful to those who have been kind to me and who have taught me by their example how to be kind. I am excited to realize that I don't have to go to the Magic Kingdom to experience kindness!
CHALLENGE: Follow Elder Wirthlin's advice and let kindness permeate all of your words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes this week. Enjoy life by being kind. Smile more and criticize less. Give hugs freely and point out the good you see in others to them. Notice how it feels when you allow kindness to be central in your course of action each day. Encourage your family and friends to take on the challenge with you. Feel free to comment on this blog post any experiences you've had.
Much love and many hugs,
Kindness is the essence of a celestial life. Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others.
Many years ago, when I was called as a bishop, I had a desire for the bishopric to visit those who were less active in the Church and see if there was anything we could do to bring the blessings of the gospel into their lives.
One day we visited a man in his 50s who was a respected mechanic. He told me the last time he had been to church was when he was a young boy. Something had happened that day. He had been acting up in class and was being noisier than he should when his teacher became angry, pulled him out of class, and told him not to come back.
He never did.
It was remarkable to me that an unkind word spoken more than four decades earlier could have had such a profound effect. But it had. And, as a consequence, this man had never returned to church. Neither had his wife or children.
I apologized to him and expressed my sorrow that he had been treated that way. I told him how unfortunate it was that one word spoken in haste, and so long ago, could have the effect of excluding his family from the blessings that come from Church activity.
"After 40 years," I told him, "it's time the Church made things right."
I did my best to do so. I reassured him that he was welcome and needed. I rejoiced when this man and his family eventually returned to church and became strong and faithful members. In particular, this good brother became an effective home teacher because he understood how something as small as an unkind word could have consequences that extend throughout a lifetime and perhaps beyond.
Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known. Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes.
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