Today is World Kindness Day. Who knew? Frankly, I believe every day should be World Kindness Day.
Because we can choose each day—each moment really—to act kindly, to take the high road and not react with indignation, irritation, or impatience. Sadly, this choice to be kind is more often the exception than the rule these days.
Recently I had business at the Department of Motor Vehicles—an outing most people dread due to the incredibly long lines and bureaucratic red tape. When I arrived at the DMV I was directed to a fairly short line and was relieved to hear my transaction would only take a moment. I noted my clerk was a seated man with crutches behind him. He seemed a bit rattled about the form I needed but consulted his notebook and printed it out as I handed over the payment in cash. However his computer simply was not cooperating, even after we switched to credit card. Everyone around him came to try and help. The long delay obviously embarrassed him, as this was his first week on the job.
As I stood helplessly at the counter, I became increasingly frustrated; however I made a deliberate choice to speak kindly both with my words and my body language. After a long thirty minutes, two women from the upstairs office came down and fixed the computer problem. The relieved new clerk gave me my form, and I smiled and thanked him, “You’re doing great! Remember, we’ve all had a first week at a new job.”
That’s when I realized that my behavior had been observed. The other men at that counter kept apologizing and saying how patient I was being. Me, patient? Only I knew how clearly my actions resulted from a deliberate choice rather than by default. And yet, as the clerk thanked me for a being a nice lady, I said in my goodbye, “Life is too short not to be kind.”
Anyone can choose to be kind! Kindness is defined as the quality of being generous, helpful, and caring about other people. Our kindness opens doors for others to receive virtues like grace, mercy, and compassion.
“What I like about kindness is that it’s doable. Unlike those virtues like compassion or even tolerance that you have to cultivate, you can be a lifetime cultivating those things. You can actually be kind to someone even if you don’t feel especially compassionate. It can be an act.” (Krista Tippett, NPR)
Be assured that such acts are noticed. Not just by all the people standing around in a DMV line but by those who live with you, those who you interact with on a regular basis, and strangers who happen to intersect with your life.
One hundred years ago a Scottish clergyman, John Watson, who also wrote novels under the pen name Ian MacLauren, urged others to be kind and remember everyone is fighting a hard battle.
What hard battles are you facing today? Will you receive the Lord’s great kindness extended to you? And then pass it along?
“Be kind and compassionate to one another.” Ephesians 4.32 NIV
under the mercy, Lucinda
copyright 2019 Lucinda Secrest McDowell Check out my brand new book “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell Order Today! More about “Life-Giving Choices” HERE!