Be Kind To One Another

Feb 17th

Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day.   We never know when someone may be having a bad day, bad week, or a bad year.  It’s sad really, we hurry scurry through our lives passing by strangers as we go without making eye contact most of the time, and they do the same to us.  We are all so busy that it just doesn’t dawn on us on any run of the mill day that sometimes a random act of kindness could make someones life feel a little brighter, and give them hope where maybe they didn’t have any.  It doesn’t have to be something big, or expensive.  Must knowing someone cares is often enough.  This may have started as a day to celebrate, but it is actually a little contagious – or a lot contagious.  It feels so good to show a little kindness that when we see the happiness on the other person’s face, it makes us want to do it some more!  The person who is the recipient feels so good that they, in turn, want to do something kind for someone else.  I know we’ve all received at least one kind deed from a stranger, and we’ve all done some as well.  I’d like it very much if anyone reading would be willing to share some ideas, or some experiences.  I’ll start . . . Received –  I used to commute to and from Seattle.  At that time commuters had the choice of buying a monthly pass, or buying books of tickets.  The tickets were easier to budget, so I went with the tickets.  One time I’d changed purses, and somehow missed my ticket book when I was making the change, I had no money on me, and it was before payday, and I got to the ferry to go home and didn’t have a ticket.   I was standing there, near to tears, saw nobody I knew to ask to borrow one, when  an older lady came up to me and offered to pay my way across the boat.  I was mortified, but so grateful at the time, and asked her if she would be on the  boat the next day so I could repay her kindness.  She wouldn’t let me give her back a ticket, but sweetly helped me out.  I got home safe and sound that night, thanks to that lady.  I hope she knew how grateful I was. Performed – This was also back when I commuted to Seattle.  I would cut through Pioneer Square on my way from the ferry to my office – this was before I was as familiar with the area and figured out a better route.  The homeless guys would sit around in the square on all of the benches, all of their worldly possessions around them.  I became familiar with one of them, this very elderly man, who always had a smile on his face.  He had snowy white hair, and was always bundled up in everything he could bundle in, his dark skin and deep brown eyes would crinkle around the edges with his happy smile.  I’d wonder sometimes what made him so happy, considering his situation.  He always had a can out in front of him for any random passerby who wanted to toss in some change, but he never actually asked for anything.  I wouldn’t give money to the street people, since I didn’t want to have it spent on booze or drugs, but I would return his smile and go on my way.  I had one day a week off, so I’d miss that day, and the following day he would always tell me he missed me and had been worried that I was ill.  One day I offered him a leftover banana I had not eaten for breakfast on the ferry.  I asked him if he’d like it and he grinned big and wide, and told me he’d never turn down a lovely potassium filled banana.  I started packing him a lunch on my work days and leaving it on his bench next to him in the mornings if he was asleep, or handing it to him if he was awake.  He got familiar with my schedule and would watch for me.  I felt safer because I “knew” someone, and he looked forward to our brief morning conversations.  After some time I began also bringing him a cup of coffee from the McDonald’s downstairs from the ferry terminal and a friendship of sorts was born.  One day, about a year into starting my commute, he was no longer there on his bench.  I began noticing that his belongings were dispersed amongst the other homeless guys who sat in the square. I asked around and it turns out that he’d gathered enough change to go across the street to Starbucks for a coffee and had a heart attack and died while he was inside.  It hurt that he was gone, but I was glad I’d helped him out while I could.  Another guy who sat down there told me that Bill (that’s what he called him anyway) always looked forward to seeing me, even when I didn’t bring lunch, and called me the lady with the happy smile.  That maybe wasn’t a single random act of kindness, but it started out that way.  It hurt to go by after that, without Bill on his bench, and honestly the other guys in the square were scary – it really wasn’t the safest neighborhood.  I figured out a different route that was quicker and safer, but to this day every time I go through Pioneer Square I think of Bill and miss his happy face. What can you share about Random Acts of Kindness?  Big or little, they all add up to making others feel good and putting a smile on people’s faces. Jesus was a big one on random acts of kindness, as He was the embodiment of love, kindness and compassion.  It really doesn’t hurt us to reach out to others with something as simple as an encouraging word, or a smile.  Doesn’t have to cost anything but a moment, but can pay huge dividends in someone else’s life.  Be blessed today, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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