Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Acts of Kindness....

Maybe 3 months ago I spent an evening talking with the youth group about perceptions and how they instinctively happen. It is not that we set out to make a conscious decision to judge people. It is just that with every action and attitude we see someone display it subconsciously gives us a glimpse into their persona. The things they say and don't say; do and don't do; how they choose to wear their anger, frustration, grace, happiness, greed, or patience.....it tells us something about their character that we aren't even aware of picking up on and cataloging in our mental database.


I was reminded of that today.
Truthfully I don't always think of others. I am human and there are times when I just want to do my things and ignore the world. Those are the days when I feel consumed by my own wants and needs and figure someone else should take a turn at being nice.


But today was different.
I wasn't thinking when I left home with my errands and grocery list that today was the eve of Thanksgiving. The traffic and busy people soon got me to realize it and so I made a conscious decision to be nice and enjoy the day.


At the grocery store I pushed my cart around and smiled making eye contact with each person in the isle. I picked up dropped items for people who had rushed in for those quick things that wouldn't balance right in their arms. I played with small children to persuade them that running errands can be a fun thing to do.

Then I ran into a sweet friend from Romania and her 2 grandsons who are students in my church class. We all hugged and joked for a few minutes about the busyness of the day and then exchanged secrets on the best purchase deals of the week.

After we said goodbye, the gal who had been stocking shelves nearby came up to me and said with an air of awe, "Do you know her well?" I smiled and said yes but it didn't seem like a good enough answer for her as she stood there just staring at me. So I explained that we go to the same church.

That obviously satisfied her because a vault of statements came forth from her.
"That is wonderful."
"Church is a nice place to be."
"I've been thinking about going to church again."
"Too bad I have to work."
"At least tomorrow will be quiet."
"We used to try and go do the holidays with my husband's folks but it didn't work well."
"So stressful it was."
"Tomorrow we are staying home and not going anywhere no matter what."
"How about you?"
"It sure is crazy here."
"I can't believe all the people."
"You seem great though."

After smiles and conversation we parted and I finished my shopping. But as my husband bagged groceries and I paid for everything, she appeared again with comments and conversation. Again she proclaimed that she was staying home for the holiday and nothing would make her leave home at all.
With a sudden rush of emotion she grabbed me and gave me an endearing hug. She looked at my husband and told him I was a sweet special angel and he had better take good care of me. Hubby agreed as we smiled and walked to the exit.

In the parking lot he leaned over and said, "Who was that and where do you know her from?"
"I have no idea", I replied. "We just started talking in the store today."
He hugged me big and kissed my cheek.

So aside from the idea that this story makes my cheek blush with heat.....it brings me back to the importance of taking time for people. I don't mean that we have to become best friends for the next 50 years with each person we meet. I do mean that a smile or kind word can mean the world to someone.

I don't know what exactly I did today that impacted this person but I do know that somehow I changed her world for the better and she finished her day with a lighter heart.


It really is easy and infectious to touch others lives. I just wanted to encourage you in that today.

15 comments:

  1. We never know what it is God is going to use.. Usually it isn't what we would have anticipated.

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  2. I think that is a beautiful story, and touching someone's life is a very special thing to have done. I am going to head on through my day today trying to be extra nice to everyone. I agree with you that niceness is infectious, and love that you smile at people as you go through your day - wonderful thing to do.

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  3. You are so right and it really doesn't take much extra effort to get outside ourselves and demonstrate kindness...I think God just puts people in our path so we can give and take in the moment, and sometimes the line is a little fuzzy about who is giving and who is receiving...I'm glad you experienced those moments. Clearly she recognized your kindness and needed a little of it for herself...such a sweet story -

    Happy Thanksgiving sweet Jules ~

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  4. Now keep it up.Thanks for being a saint. from saint pod.enjoy your day.

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  5. I still see you as a Bulldog Grrrrr.

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  6. Well....... You are obviously the kind of person that gives out to other people and that God is using you to reach out to them.
    Brilliant!

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  7. I think that taking time for others like this is a big part of what the commandment "Love your neighbor as yourself" means

    An Arkie's Musings

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  8. It's not how we view the world, but how the world views us...my Grandmother Douglas told us that all her life...I think it was to be sure that we didn't embarrass her by some awful action or statement, but it has stayed with me. You seem to be the sort of person that could cheer up a room just by being in it. Loved this post
    Sandi

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  9. Your very first paragraph took me back to Thanksgiving and my visit to a friend's house for dinner. I know her but had never met her husband. They have been having problems and I worry about her and hope to see her happy again, hopefully with him. Watching the two of them interact gave me insight to some of the things they are struggling with. So I guess that was a perspective that will hopefully help me be a better friend to her. At least I can add substance to my prayers.

    I love the way you have affected people here. It's a true gift to extend love to a stranger.

    Loved your interview on David's!

    Blessings! & Peace!
    Lee

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  10. Just been reading your comments, didn't realise that you had done an interview on David's, I will have to go and have a look for it!

    I was thinking of you today as I finally started on the cards, I did manage the names list yesterday and printed out the labels, one step at a time!!

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  11. Quilly...God's plan is usually very different from what we think. That is what makes it so fun right.

    Mima...that is so encouraging. Thank you for letting me know this helped you today.

    Joni...true true. The saying it is more blessed to give than to receive....it is all so much fun.

    Alan....you make me laugh. Should I bark too?

    Maggie Mae...thank you. Truly I didn't write this for the "self" pats on the back. I just figure that personal experience is always the best way to relate things.

    Richies...how right you are.

    Sandi...Your Grandmother Douglas sounds like she was a very wisdom filled woman.

    Lee..hi there. I am so glad you came by to visit. I am grateful you were able to get insight for your friend. I believe God does that so that we can, like you said, have more substance to our prayers. You are a good friend to be so observant.

    Mima...really?...my interview is up? I'll have to go take a look...giggle giggle.
    Good for you for starting your cards. It blesses me to know I came to your mind.

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  12. A truly wonderful post! made me smile and have a bit more faith in people.. as there is so much selfishness, greed, anger and hurt in the world today!
    I agree, a smile or a simple hello, how are you? can change someone's day and I am proud to say that I too go out of my way to smile at someone or help someone in a simple way...
    I found you via David's "Sunday Roast" and so pleased I did... you seem like a very special and kind woman.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

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  13. Jules...What a beautiful post for Thanksgiving! It reminds of this bible verse:

    ""Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

    -- Hebrews 13:2

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  14. Oh how I like this! I find that perception thing so true and am surprised at the subconcious generalizations I have. Beautiful reminder! (Even for today, months after you posted this!)

    Smiles!

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