Friday, May 25, 2018

What has happened to random kindness?

“Be brave because you are a child of God.
Be kind because everyone else is too.”

A few weeks ago, I was selling some of my books at a Half Price Books store. While waiting to see how much my books were worth, I noticed a woman struggling to get something from the top shelf. Since I was tall, I knew my “skills” would come in handy and I assisted her. She was grateful for my actions and it sparked a friendly conversation. About a half hour later though, when I was checking out, she was in line ahead of me and made the comment, “Oh! I thought you worked here!”

It was an honest mistake, but one that made me think: Why did she assume I was an employee instead of a person just helping another person?

I made the realization that she assumed I was an employee because an employee is required to assist their customers. A random person has no requirement but has a choice. And the woman was surprised because I made a choice that does not typically happen anymore. I chose to see the woman and show love in that moment.

To see another human being seems easy. I mean we see people all the time: at work, at school, on the street, on tv; everywhere we go, there are just other people to see.

But are we really noticing the other people we see with our eyes? Our eyes typically notice more things than we ever realize. Often times, its our brain that tends to miss details.

However, this isn’t just what our brains might miss when we see, but what our heart misses as well.

When we are born, we are created with an incredible power…the power to love. With that power, comes the ability to see the Divine and the Human in all persons. To see another person with gifts and flaws.

Despite the fact that we have this power, the choice to use it is rarely seen in our world.

And it’s understandable. It’s hard to love. It’s hard to see another human being when we have so many responsibilities running through our minds, distracting us from what can be right in front of us.

And then there could be fears, fear of loving someone and not being loved back. Showing kindness toward others and not fairly being the recipient of that same love. It’s a real fear that too often happens in our world as well.

There are many reasons why love can be hard, and I am still learning to see the other person and love them for who they are. I am far from perfect. In order to learn, I look upon those who are making a difference in our world through their kindness and love.

 My first semester in divinity school, my friends and I were driving over for a gettogether. On our way, I noticed a woman sitting on the side of the street with all her belongings. My heart felt sad for the woman. Before I knew it, we were pulling into a Walgreens next to where the woman was sitting. My friend, Stephen, felt compassion for the woman and decided to go speak with her. In their conversations, he found out that all she wanted was to sell her drawings. She wasn’t asking for pity, but just for someone to see her and appreciate her gift of art. Stephen bought her drawing and ironically, it was the image of an eye.

I find this picture to be ironic because it represents that he had seen her as a child of God and as a human being.

It takes a lot of work to see and love someone, even if it is a person that we know. It takes time, it takes effort, it takes listening, and most importantly, it takes dropping what we think we know and simply being present.

Too often, we see people based on appearances or assumed identities. To love another means dropping what we think we know and take the time to hear who that person is.

This is a challenge for me and I offer this challenge for you as well: To see a person fully as they are and show random kindness to all persons that we meet. Not out of requirements, but as genuine care for the other person.

Who knows? Maybe if all persons lived into this challenge, the world might not be as scary a place to live in sometimes?

To love in a world that seems to be filled with hate is especially difficult. I like to believe that love and random kindness is like a ripple in the water. It can spread and influence other people’s lives and give them the opportunity to also create their own ripple that helps others and influences others.

This is my hope for the world: to create ripples that reach everyone I meet and help others to create ripples of their own. To show random kindness and love to everyone we meet. May it be so.

May your heart and Ruah be receivers and givers of love,


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