Most of my action items are focused on, well, action. On me doing something. But the more I thought about kindness, the more I realized that I am also motivated to be more kind when kindness is shown to me. My friend Colleen will touch upon this in my interview with her tomorrow.
We know that kindness is contagious!
So this month I’ve been thinking about times when people have been particularly kind to me. Here are just a few:
When I first walked into karate, I was so scared and felt so alone. A girl named Jessi offered to help me out that first day, and worked with me for the entire class, showing me the right ways to do things. We’re still friends, two and a half years later. This same friend also takes time out of her weekends to offer free training on Saturdays for her friends — spin, conditioning, running, stairs, etc. It’s such a (sweat-inducing) kindness.
My car broke down while I was going to school down in Southern California. Several hours later I look up from my desk and see my dad strolling across the campus — he had driven seven hours to get the car working again!
While hiking Half Dome last year, I had an extremely hard time going up and down the cables. I was basically one big panic attack. For the entire way down, Ryan talked me through each step, putting his foot out when my short legs wouldn’t reach the next wooden support. I can guarantee you that I wouldn’t have been able to do it without his kind, encouraging words and the security of knowing he was right there next to me.
When I did my first trip down to Mexico with my brand new church in high school, my friends played Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant during the entire eleventy hour drive. I didn’t think I could be a Christian after that. I grew up listening to the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, and my ears were about to melt off my head. Thankfully, one of my new friends, Jessy, rescued me on the drive back up, and showed me that there were other musical options beyond easy listening Christian pop. Also, he told me I can still listen to the Stones.
About a year ago, I got really sick at the end of the day at work. I had my mom stop by and pick me up and drive me home, and I left my car in the parking lot. After I got home, I had this sickening feeling that I’d left my car unlocked. My friend Steph offered to drive over to my office and check it out for me. Thankfully it was locked, but I’ll never forget how she jumped at the chance to be kind (she does stuff like this all the time).
After thinking about these things, I realized I feel the most kindness from my friends and family when I’m in trouble. A little trouble or a lot, nothing says kindness to me like when someone offers me a little help through whatever I’m going through.
Because of this, I want to be more aware of people in trouble. Friends who need a helping hand, a hot dinner, a glass of wine. I want to see opportunities to go out of my way to perform a small kindness, not because of recognition or thanks, but because it’s the kind, right thing to do. I know I do this in some ways, but I’d love to take it above and beyond — really being the kind hands of Jesus where people are in need.