Friday, March 18, 2005

Cheap Kindness

I noticed something unpleasant about myself today.

My wife's best friend (how do I say this?) lives a less materialistic lifestyle than my wife and I do. I know that probably sounds like a nice(?), but terribly condescending way, of saying she doesn't have as much money as we do, but it really is more than that. She has different priorities.

Sometimes this woman borrows my car while I'm at work (I take the train). It's the least I can do, right? Today, though, I saw just how "least" it is. When I got back to my car at the end of the day, I got frustrated by the fact that she always moves the seat. How petty is that?

So this is what I realized. I thought it was kind of me to let her use my car. Don't worry I have it in proportion. I knew it was just a small kindness. But I thought it was a kindness. And then after I overreacted about having to move the seat, I saw that I was only happy to do this to the extent that it didn't cost me anything. What kind of kindness is that?

What is this all about? I think I understand St. Augustine's reaction to stealing the pears.

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