– Monday Muse –
Dear One, did you wake-up today with a faint thought of doing some kind gesture for someone, something like carrying in the mail for an ailing neighbor, calling someone who might like to hear from you, or perhaps giving your neighbor your 50 % off coupon, but have let the thought pass – for it was insignificant? If so, please consider reviving the thought. For acts of kindness become undying embers which, when needed, fully ignite.
What got me thinking about that was the memory of a smile. A few summers ago, when I was walking around a campground circle a boy, about nine-years-old, came running toward me. He was putting everything he had into forward movement. His form was excellent…a delight to watch.
When he got close enough to hear me, I said, “Great form! Are you going out for track?” His eyes brightened, and a smile, which seemed bigger than his face, outshone his eyes. “Yeah, I am! I’m on the cross-country team too!” I replied, “Good job!”
So touched by the intensity of the exchange, I stopped to watch the boy as he headed for the next curve. About fifteen feet away, he turned and looked directly at me. When he did, the oddest thing happened. I wondered about it then, and I wonder about it now. It seemed as though, for a second or two, that time stood still. His haunting last glance seemed to be gathering up every bit of affirmation. His smile was not the same as his first, not as bright or broad, but its depth was astonishing. It bore witness of an uncommon connection which left me with a lingering image, and I like to think, for him, an undying ember.
The following are two examples of kindnesses which, over the years, have been of great help to me.
1. After teaching the last of a series of spiritual-growth classes, I was given these words. “Never give up teaching.” That was said by a retired professor who sat through the class. Since then, when asked to teach, her words enable me to accept.
2. Another such encouragement came just after giving a volunteer appreciation address. A guest, upon leaving said, “You are a gifted story teller.” Her words filled me with the needed confidence to speak when asked.
Could the professor or the guest realize the significance of their acts of kindness? I think not. I believe that it is beyond all comprehension.
Acts of kindness affect observers. I heard of a teenage girl who was at the point of absolute hopelessness. As she stood hidden from view, blankly staring out of a window, a car pulled into an empty parking lot. The male driver went around to the other side of the car and opened the door for his female passenger. That simple act changed the girl’s heart. It gave her hope, hope that respect still existed. It enabled her to take a first step toward healing. There are no acts of kindness too small to start an ember glowing.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your
good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
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