“A cup of kindness”— how a memory inspired my word for 2017

Jan 13, 2017 | 29 comments |

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I choose a “word for the year.” Sometimes it’s an easy choice and, as the new year turns, I’m anticipating how to incorporate my word as a guiding principle in everyday life.

Other years, and as was the case as 2016 limped to a close, it’s been more difficult. In those last weeks of December, I was tired in mind, body and spirit. English Rose was unwell. The winter weather was inhospitable. World news was grim. And, not least, having pulled a muscle in my back, I spent five days either lying flat or sitting bolt upright, popping anti-inflammatories that never quite numbed the pain.

When 31 December arrived, I wasn’t in a celebratory mood and indeed wondered if I’d even choose a shiny, new word to take me forward into 2017. On New Year’s Eve, I slept through midnight but was up several times with English Rose. In that middle-of-the-night haze known to parents everywhere, I reflected on the year just gone as well as the fresh one that awaited.

And in that space between sleeping and waking, when I least expected it, I found the perfect word.

Throughout my childhood, my paternal grandmother sang “Auld Lang Syne” each New Year’s Eve night, her sweet soprano lingering on the words “we’ll take a cup of kindness.” That memory had lain dormant for years, but as I comforted the great-grandchild she never knew, for a whisper of time Grandma’s loving voice was as clear as if she were at my side.

The meaning was clear, too. My word for this year would be “kindness.”

Except at the most superficial level, it’s a word that has nothing to do with writing. It does, however, have much to do with life. Indeed, in many cultures and religions, kindness—that warm-heartedness, consideration, concern and care for others that makes the world a nicer and happier place—is singled out as a virtue.

Throughout 2017, I’ll consciously look for opportunities to show kindness to others. I’ll also try to be kinder to myself, and true to my own feelings, values and needs.

As an author, I’m growing my career one reader at a time. This year, and no matter what it brings in writing and life, I also want to make a positive difference one kind gesture at a time. 

Even though I can’t change the world, in my own, small way I can help make it a better place.

29 Comments

  1. Jennifer Wilck

    This one’s going to be very easy for you! 🙂

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thanks so much, Jennifer. Lovely of you to say that! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Lynn Folliott

    I agree with Jennifer and you are already well on your way Jen 🙂

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thanks so much, Lynn. Much appreciated! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Jean Bull

    It’s a lovely idea, Jen, and I’m sure a lot of people will share a cup of kindness with you this year !! ☕️

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Jean. Kindness is a gift that keeps giving as all of us ‘pay it forward.’

      Reply
  4. Beth Tilbury

    You are emulating one of my heroes, Jen, the Dalai Lama. God bless your kind and loving spirit.

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thanks for sharing and commenting, Beth. And God bless you too.

      Reply
  5. Heidi Vanstone

    In our family, we talk about how kindness is a never-ending circle. While a kindness given may not always be reciprocated by the recipient, it will ALWAYS be returned by someone. I firmly believe that it more blessed to give than to receive!

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      We talk about kindness that way in our family, too. It’s a philosophy I learned from my parents at a very young age. Thanks for visiting and sharing, Heidi.

      Reply
  6. Kate Field

    I’m glad you included being kind to yourself. It’s the one form of kindness we often forget. Hope you have a happy year. x

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Wishing you a happy 2017, too, Kate. Thanks so much for reading my post & commenting. I think as women we’re especially prone to neglect self kindness, but the past few years have taught me how important it is; not least, to be able to nurture others. x

      Reply
  7. Sue Bavin

    I think this is a wonderful word to choose to guide and inspire you through the coming year, and all the more special because of its associations with your own family history. I believe that kindness is the single most important quality that anyone can possess. The best thing about it is that it takes very little effort to be kind but the effects it can have are immense. Wishing you a wonderful year, Jen.

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Sue. Yes, kindness is so easy to incorporate into daily life but, as you say, it can have such immense (positive) effects. Wishing you a wonderful year, too. x

      Reply
  8. carol rivers (@carol_rivers)

    RT @SusannaBavin: Romance #writer @JenGilroy1 shares her word to live by in 2017: Kindness, with special #inspiration from her gran. https:…

    Reply
  9. RJ McGill

    Thank you for sharing the story that inspired your word. Those small whispers from the past are all too often ignored in the fast-paced, hurry hurry world we live in today. I hope your word…kindness…inspires others to remember even the smallest act of kindness can change someone’s life.

    Thank you again. Wishing you much success in the New Year.

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      And thanks to you for your kind words and good wishes. I appreciate you reading and commenting.

      Reply

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