What does kindness mean to you? There is never a right way to do something unkind. I might even argue that there isn’t even a reason to do anything that is unkind. I can’t help but hear Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:12 “Do to others as you’d have them do to you.” Many of us recognize this as the “Golden Rule” and I think it applies. I am always touched by the kindness of others. Let me share with you what kindness meant to me this morning:
I was on the way to the office. I was actually running early but it didn’t change the kindness I experienced. On my route, there are many stop lights. There is one light where waiting is particularly grievous to me. I always want to turn right, and it is usually safe to do so…but…there is no turn lane. This is a problem only when someone who is going straight or turning left blocks the lane. There is easily enough room for all of us “right turners” to turn safely on red IF (and this is a really big “IF”) the person moves to the center of the lane. They don’t have to cross the yellow line or do anything dangerous. Just pull ever so slightly to the left side of the lane. It is a very simple thing that really doesn’t cost anyone anything. Few people do it. My commute is often 2 minutes longer because of this one light…and the people who straddle the lane oblivious to the long line of “right turners” behind them.
This morning I was early with very little traffic. I planned to have to wait at a few intersections in the 3.5 miles in my commute. This morning I didn’t have to wait for this one light. When I got there, he was ahead of me in a late model Chevy truck. It was a plain, white, work truck. He pulled to the left side of the lane so his tire was just on the inside of the yellow line, much further than he had to. I immediately recognized a kindred spirit. He thought like I think. Why not be kind? Let someone pass if they can. It doesn’t cost anything and just may help a few strangers get where they are going a little faster and with a little less stress.
Small things are just that…small. However, they often add up. A few small things equal a big thing, in my opinion. What if we all did a few small things everyday? Could we make the world a better place? What if my small thing triggers your small thing and so on? What if we could start a chain reaction of kindness? I think maybe we can. I can’t end war and bloodshed on my own. I have only a marginal say about the lives of the people who live under my roof…let alone the many who live down the street or across the continent. What I can do is be kind. I can open my eyes and try to make life just a little easier for the people around me. I can offer a kindness to a stranger in an unkind world. It seems it is the least I can do.
This morning, I accepted the gift of kindness from a stranger in a white, work truck. I pulled to the line and looked carefully to make sure there was no traffic coming. There wasn’t. I paused a moment more and tapped my horn in a friendly gesture. When the stranger in the truck looked up, I smiled and said “Thank You” in a way he could easily read my lips. He smiled back as he waved and I went on my way. I may never see him again. He made my day a little brighter and a little less frustrating and I appreciate it…and him. I’m taking his kindness to the next level by offering a prayer for him too. Will you join me? “Lord Jesus, bless this kind man wherever he is. Thank you for letting our paths cross. Help me be as attentive to strangers I meet along my way. Help me to be kind in just the same kind of way as I want others to be kind to me. I want to honor you and your command to do to others as I’d have done to me…in the little things especially because some days, that’s all I have.”
May God’s peace lead to our partnership in many kind deeds, both big and small…