Many people talk about random acts of kindness, and their stories are inspiring. To quietly serve another person seems to amplify the good many times over, especially when it’s widely shared on the Internet. I got to thinking about not-so-random acts of kindness that may be less often expressed but just as valuable despite their rarity.
My first inkling of this came in a store one day. I asked the clerk for an item I needed and he turned to get it for me. A man and his little girl stood next to me and as I glanced over I saw his face was beet red. Momentarily puzzled, I suddenly came to and exclaimed, “Oh my gosh. I am so sorry! You were here first and I didn’t even see you!” He visibly relaxed. His face returned to a normal shade as he smiled and kindly said, “It’s okay, no harm done.” Who performed the act of kindness here? I’d say that patient guy led the way.
Another time, I pulled into a Post Office parking lot to drop letters in the mailbox near a woman in an SUV, and saw her cursing loudly and literally bouncing off the walls of her car in fury. I pointed to the mailbox and mouthed, “It’s okay, I’m going over there, not parking.” The seemingly wild beast of a moment before immediately relaxed. A not-so-random act of kindness but a focused one, easing someone’s obvious pain.
Another instance caught me off guard. Actually I was shocked. Grocery shopping, I was near the end of the meat case checking prices when an exasperated voice said, “For God’s sake, every time you move I’ve moved out of your way. But I’m not going to move again!” Wow! How did I completely miss this person and his courteous attempts to give me access to the meat counter, or his rising ire? I said, “Oh, wow, I am so sorry.” He laughed then and said, “It’s okay, I’m just having a bad day.”
Being aware of the people around us seems so basic and ingrained in us that it’s a shock to discover we’ve missed something so important to another person. But when we make a sincere connection with that person, it so often clears the air.
It reminds me of a time I was driving and some teenaged boys pulled right up behind me obviously wanting to pass. I couldn’t do anything about it then, but as soon as I could, I pulled over. I thought they’d probably yell at me as they went by, but they didn’t. They honked and waved, and as their car pulled next to mine in passing I saw them smiling and saying, “Thanks!” Wow! I know that according to universal law, what I give out will come back, but it can still surprise me when it happens.
These are some of the seemingly ordinary, everyday moments that are without price, when we can express a kind of connection that shows someone we value them, we’re all in this life together. When we make this small effort that costs us nothing, they feel happier, relieved, less stressed, and whatever the problem was evaporates in the genuine caring of a thoughtful human exchange.
Copyright © 2016 Lemurian Fellowship