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Louisa Ikena reflects on kindness with joy as an indicator on the journey of following God’s will, just for today.

“Kindness Rocks!” I can hear this phrase echoing in the voices of my colleagues. I recently transitioned professions from the health care field to the education field. I have an undergrad degree in science education, and I feel like I am reclaiming this part of myself.   

As a first-year teacher I have experienced multiple layers of overwhelm. Everything feels new. Many weekends I spend working from a place of being desperately behind to simply being behind. In the Catholic PreK-8 school that I work at, I have encountered a huge amount of kindness. And, yes, kindness rocks my world in the best possible sense. 

In this first month the students have made “kindness rocks.” They have painted rocks and written encouraging and inspiring messages: “Never give up.” “Jesus loves you!” “Smile.” 




In an act of kindness which meant the world to me, our school counselor came to one of my religion classes and taught for a half hour so I could take a break. I chose to write during that half hour. This is the activity that fills me with the most joy. This writing is my version of kicking my feet up. I truly love it. 

On this journey called life, how do we know we are on the path God meant and means for us to be on? My short answer to that question is joy. My longer answer is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23a). The fruits of the Holy Spirit are the indicators for me, that, just for today, I am in alignment with God’s will for me. That is my litmus test for the Presence of God.  

John the Baptist, still growing inside Elizabeth’s womb, leapt for joy at Mary’s greeting. The joy was palpable, and God’s Presence prompted Elizabeth to cry out loudly,

“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed in the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:42-43)


Mary hadn’t just come; she had come to the hill country in the town of Judah to visit Elizabeth in haste (Luke 1:39). Our Lady is always a model of not just following God’s will, but doing so perfectly. Joy was and is an indelible sign of God’s Holy Presence.  




I do not think it is exaggerating to say that kindness sparks joy. The kindness that has been shown to me I am meant to share and show to others. I once heard that every act of kindness not only blesses the receiver and the giver, it blesses every witness of that kindness. The joy is contagious! Smiles tend to provoke more smiles. When I witness kindness, I praise God and for a moment in time, I reflect on all that is right in the world. 


Click to tweet:
Every act of kindness not only blesses the receiver and the giver, it blesses every witness of that kindness. #CatholicMom


I humbly accept the kindness shown to me as I begin this second career of teaching. I want to say thank you to our Lord for this incredible privilege and opportunity. Thank you to kind friends in my old profession, especially for very kind and thoughtful gifts. And thank you, thank you, thank you to kind friends who are new. 

Through the years, in and out of fashion, there have been phrases like “Rock on!” and “Class of [fill in the year] rocks!” The joy is palpable. I wear my smile until my cheeks hurt. You and I are meant to be here, right here, right now. Today I submit, just like the encouraging stones and encouragement I have described: “Kindness Rocks!” 



Copyright 2023 Louisa Ann Irene Ikena
Images: copyright 2023 Louisa Ann Irene Ikena, all rights reserved.