It’s been important for me to recognize the role of hospitality amid my grief. In the restaurant, I tried to always make a point to my staff that we show hospitality to each other first, then to the customer. I can’t give what I don’t have. It becomes much easier to serve kindness to a guest if my starting point is kindness.
Even if I know how to extend toward and receive kindness from people. I need to include myself in that mix.
Do I know how to be kind to Kevin?
If I spend all my energy taking care of others, I will most certainly deplete my source. Eventually I will have nothing to give. I will be doling out rations from an impoverished heart. If I’ve stored up nothing, I will have nothing to offer in the upcoming season.
A principle like this comes from farming. There is seed for sowing and there is seed for food. It’s important to keep those distinct and separate.
The farmer instinctively knew to hold back a portion of seed from the best looking plants after each harvest. He would save this selection to plant next year. The rest could be ground into flour to make the bread for the family to enjoy. He didn’t eat the seed. He kept it separate from that which was designated for food, else he would have nothing to sow in the springtime. Much of that farmer’s job was to take care of the Homefront.
Dad taught me the importance of this principle when he or someone else would gift me money. He would say, “Don’t use that all up at once, son. Save some for seed.”
This little lesson has stuck with me through grief. Kindness is both seed for sowing and seed for food. I must scatter it as well as consume it. I can’t act foolishly by thinking it doesn’t matter. The farmer kept the majority of his seed for food. He knew if he didn’t take care of his household, he wouldn’t be around to continue sowing and reaping for them in the future.
If you’re grieving today, I identify with your pain, but I don’t know what it means to be you. What you’re feeling is unique and personal. I sow this thought with you in the midst of your hurt. Take a moment to consider what it would mean to be kind to yourself. You matter. Even though the pain tells you otherwise. Someone will need your story someday. And I want you to be around to tell it.