Give others the gift of kindness, and here's how
For the past several months, or perhaps for the past year, I've been quietly obsessed with kindness. I've read articles, blog posts, and have selected books that have a kindness theme.
I don't know if it's the age we live in or the reality of having to deal with the virus for so long, but I think people have become less kind. Perhaps unkindness is simply highlighted by social media. Goodness knows, there's plenty of unkindness on display there. (Avert your eyes!)
As a child, I was raised to know the importance of etiquette. I learned early on that the first rule of etiquette is to not make someone else uncomfortable. (If you understand that concept, the rest of acting mannerly is simple.) If you step forward and alleviate the discomfort of others, you're extending a great kindness.
Just last week, I had a delightful surprise. I was the recipient of an unexpected kindness. I was at my local grocery store, waiting for a prescription, not feeling great. I cycled through the pick-up line twice because it was taking so long to prepare my order. All I wanted was to get my Rx and go home. The second time I went through the queue, the tech suggested I stand off to the right of the cash register. Did I mention the line was l-o-n-g?
After a few minutes, I saw an employee place some prescriptions on the counter next to the tech checking people out. Loud enough for others to hear, he said he'd ring me up next. Finally. I glanced at the line of waiting customers. More than one set of eyes shifted my way. They heard the tech.
When the tech finished with the lady he was waiting on, he glanced my way to let me know to step over. Before I got two steps in, the next person in line charged forward with her grocery cart, blocking me from getting to the cashier.
Her aggression stopped me in my tracks. She didn't look my way, although I'm sure she knew I was there and knew that it was my turn. Before I could open my mouth to speak, the previous customer grabbed hold of the line-jumper's grocery cart and steered it away. "It's her turn." She gestured toward me and locked her gaze on the impatient customer.
We got quite a sour look from that lady. The others in line also shifted their expressions. Clearly, they weren't impressed by the line jumper, either.
When I thanked my champion, she waved it off. "No, no. I'm glad to help you. Have a nice afternoon."
Her kindness was exactly what I needed that day. It brightened my outlook. Lifted my spirits.
Do you want to give the gift of kindness to others? Here's how:
Extending kindness isn't difficult, it's simply doing the right thing. Remember when our culture rewarded that kind of behavior?
It might cut into your carefully crafted schedule, but the rewards (virtue is its own reward!) will buoy your spirit as much as the recipient of your actions.
The Bible says, Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 1 John 3:18
Another verse that speaks to me is Micah 6:8, And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
In case you don't know, those verses are not suggestions. They're commands.
I once overstayed a visit to the mall because a stranger needed my care. Loving on that stranger was a blessing to me that I'll never forget. One day, I may tell you about it.
Until then, be kind, friends.