I’ve never really understood what the phrase “the milk of human kindness” means. Perhaps it has something to do with how babies survive on milk as their first sustenance. Milk would be primary in relationships, then, the grease that keeps the wheels moving. If anyone has insight on this, feel free to share. I confess I have it in short supply today. This week has been rough.
In my devotional yesterday, I encountered a quote from Henry James:
“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
At the time I thought, yeah yeah. Whatever. We emphasize kindness with our kids, very important. True. Moving on. Then today’s devotional hammered it home. It centered on this passage in 2 Timothy 2:24:
The servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.
Okay, Lord. I’m listening, Lately, it seems my world is populated with difficult people and difficult situations. Any milk of human kindness I may have possessed in the past has dried up. Misunderstandings and disappointments abound. For example, I’ve hit a roadblock with a contractor. It’s like they’re speaking Portuguese to my English. I will have to start over and explain 1) the parameters of the project, and 2) what their legal requirements are according to the contract they signed. Other conflicts hit within the office, trying to defend myself on things I’m not familiar with.
Sometimes, hanging out with Ruby and watching cartoons can be a great relief. The good guys and the bad guys don’t overlap, and everything works out in 23 minutes. Simple explanations to problems, huzzah! Why doesn’t everyday stuff resolve easily? But life isn’t like that. It’s messy and gray and complicated.
Last night after dinner, I hopped on the treadmill. I also ate a handful of chocolate chips, but you don’t need to know that. I realized I needed to escape the chocolate cure and let the feelings go. I walked for 30 minutes and put in 2 miles. Afterward, I felt better. I surrendered the painful decisions and frustrating interchanges. This is why I enjoy working out so much. It’s like the rough parts of the day get sanded off through sweat or something. Sweaty prayer is real.
If I call myself a servant of the Lord, kindness needs to rule my words and deeds. I know I can’t do it on my own. Today marks a new start. I want that milk Jesus provides to nourish those around me. Let it flow from my mouth and my hands. Help, Lord.