[Niggle] was kindhearted, in a way. You know the sort of kind heart: it made him uncomfortable more often than it made him do anything; and even when he did anything, it did not prevent him from grumbling, losing his temper and swearing (mostly to himself). All the same, it did land him in a good many odd jobs for his neighbor, Mr Parish, a man with a lame leg. Occasionally he even helped other people from further off, if they came and asked him to. (…)
He could not get rid of his kind heart. ‘I wish I was more strong-minded’ he sometimes said to himself, meaning that he wished other people’s troubles did not make him feel uncomfortable. (…) He tried to harden his heart; but it was not a success. There were many things that he had not the face to say NO to, whether he thought them duties or not; and there were some things he was compelled to do, whatever he thought.
J.R.R. Tolkien: Leaf by Niggle
Too kindhearted. I am sure it is a situation and sentiment we all know; doing something for others even though we had other things planned; being interrupted in what we were doing to go and help others; the feeling we are never going to get around to doing what we wanted to do or finishing what we wanted to finish and still not being able to say no when someone asks for help.
Maybe it’s time to listen to the kind heart rather than complaining about it. Instead of begrudging others the time we are giving them, let’s help with a joyful heart. Instead of grumbling while helping, let’s enjoy what we are doing while we’re doing it. Instead of being disturbed about being interrupted, let’s concentrate on the task at hand and do our best. We will get done what we were meant to get done. Incidentally, it will make helping all the more enjoyable. Remember Mary Poppins? ‘Just a spoonful of sugar…’
I guess in the modern vernacular one would say: ‘Own it’.
Own your kind heart. It’s yours. Use it well.
Illustrations by Alan Lee