[This post is part of my Truth Tuesday series on Facebook.]
Yesterday, I had 4 meaningful pastoral visits at Oshkosh Correctional. During these visits, I listen, ask questions, mirror back goodness (the many ways each prisoner’s practice inspires me), and encourage new areas of growth. I bear witness to immense pain. I hear heart-wrenching stories about unsafe, abusive, violent childhoods. I see how people can change; how transformation occurs, little bit by little bit, even in the harshest conditions.
These guys trust me. And trust is a rare thing in prison. Brené Brown writes: “It turns out that trust is in fact earned in the smallest of moments. It is earned not through heroic deeds, or even highly visible actions, but through paying attention, listening, and gestures of genuine care and connection.” In my pastoral visits, and in all of life, I try to pay attention, listen, and express genuine care.
Yet I see a lack of trust within our society. We’re distracted, on our devices or in our own thoughts. We’re not listening (we’re interrupting, talking over, or giving advice). And our collective heart is protected. We’re afraid to be caring, real, and vulnerable.
This can change, though, in the smallest of moments. And we can be that change. Today is World Kindness Day. Spreading kindness relates to building trust:
Make gestures of genuine care and connection
This is how we establish trust in ourselves and each other. This is how we cultivate kindness.