Friday, March 19, 2010

What Happened To Kindness?

Sometimes I like to go do a little window shopping on my lunch break, you know, just to get out of the office. Today I decided to run by trusty Wal-Mart on my lunch break just in case they had some undiscovered super cheap jewel that I didn’t know I needed (they didn’t – by the way – total bummer.)

On my drive back I found myself praying for many things. As I have said before, Steven and I are going through a difficult time right now. Some unexpected curve balls have been thrown our way as of late, and we are working through them. I know this is a minor speed bump, and I truly believe that somehow this challenge is actually a blessing in disguise. I believe that God has a plan for our lives and that He wants to bless us – I’m just waiting on Him to reveal His plan. So I sat at the stop light praying. Praying that God would bless my husband. Praying that God would bless me. Praying that God would reveal His will for our lives and open a door to new opportunities for us – and sooner rather than later, please.

In the middle of reflection I caught sight of an elderly, homeless woman standing on the street corner to my right. I immediately shifted my glance as to avoid eye contact with her. After all, she probably was homeless because she had some sort of addiction, and if I gave her money she wouldn’t buy food she would buy something that would only make her situation worse, right?

In the exact instant that I completed that thought, the wind was knocked out of me. Thoughts of shame and guilt started to flow like running water – drowning me in a river of conviction. How dare I? How dare I sit in my car praying that God would bless my life and ignore a blatant opportunity to be a blessing in the life of someone else? Who am I to judge this women? It is only by the grace of God that I can sit comfortably in my air conditioned car while this poor elderly woman stands starving on a street corner. How in the world have I become so jaded that my first instinct is to turn my eyes from those in need instead of looking for an opportunity to show kindness and generosity. Just last week a couple from our Life Group sent Steven and I an incredibly thoughtful gift. I was so touched by their act of kindness that I was moved to tears. A week later I can’t bring myself to give a few dollars to a person in significantly more need than myself? Lord please forgive me for being so selfish.

As the light turned green I reached for my purse. Of course I only had two dollars cash to give to this woman, but I figured something was better than nothing. I called to her and as she approached my passenger side door I was surprised to seeing the biggest smile on her face. “Thank-you sweet child,” she praised. “You are so beautiful. You remind me of my daughter – you have her smile. The kind of smile that gives people hope. I pray that God blesses your kindness.” Wow….wow…wow….

As cars began to honk at me for holding up traffic, I quickly wished her well and drove away. I barely got out of her sight before I burst into tears. The kind of smile that gives people hope? Pray that God blesses my kindness? This stranger showered me with words of praise and compassion when only moments before I had mentally accused her of being some type of addict? Talk about a reality check.

This world is full of tragedy. Just yesterday I learned that a blogger friend, Mrs. P, lost her husband while he was serving in Afghanistan. This economy has wreaked havoc on family after family of hardworking Americans who can now barely afford to feed and clothe their families. Hospitals are ridden with patients struggling to overcome illness and disease – families sit in waiting rooms praying for the lives of their loved ones.

I’m so ashamed of myself for the way I initially reacted to the sight of this homeless woman. I pray that this will be a turning point in my life – that I will not shy from helping those in need again. I was reminded today that no act of kindness is too small. If we look close enough, we are given an opportunity each day to show compassion and generosity to those around us. Like me, will you continue to ignore the hurting around you – or will you wake up and be a blessing in someone’s life?

That best portion of a good man’s life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.
-William Wordsworth

20 comments:

Stephanie Hartman said...

Aw this way such a great post girl I ahve to admit that I sometimes shy away from homless people because once I gave a man $5 and I saw him buy beer with it so I never really gave money to them anymore now days I take them to a buffet and walk in with them to pay for them they greatly appriciated it...You are so right God has a plan for everyone and it could change at any moment..

Kelly said...

Always remember, that it's not what they do with what you give, it's why you gave in the first place! (if that makes any sence at all!)

Have a great weekend!

Sole Matters said...

Umm I just got teary from that post. The part where the lady smiled and said you looked like her daughter. Now, it could be the PMS, but I don’t think so. I too tend to look away from homeless people. My #1 reasoning for doing this is because I’m a fairly small girl and what happens if I try to do a good deed and the person tries to hurt me? I guess I need to rethink my thoughts.

Kaloula said...

The important thing is you noticed in time you know? I have been going thru the same struggle lately, noticing I'm not being as kind because I fear ..what I don't know. It's ridiculous. I guess maybe it's a fear of being naive, but that shouldn't overrule kindness. Thank you for reminding me of that. Great post!

mackenzie said...

girl, this is am amazing post. thank you for this reminder, i feel that sometimes we need to hear this daily to really sink in. but this story brought tears to my eyes and i'm amazed that something this small can make such a huge difference.

Mateya said...

What a great post! It's amazing how God works in our lives! As humans, it is so hard for us to not get caught up in our own lives to realize that someone else has it worse than us or we are blinded to ways that we can help others.

Brittany said...

Such a sweet post. I sometimes turn away from homeless people too, I don't know if I get scared or what it is. I'll admit that sometimes I do give people money though. It's all about the "vibe" I get from them. You probably felt so amazing after you gave that lady money and she said that to you. I would have cried as well.

Meagan@Megs7827 said...

Thanks for sharing your wake up call with us!

d.a.r. said...

Thank you so much for writing this, it was such a blessing to me!!

Good for you for reaching your hand out to someone in need.

Brittany Ann said...

What an amazing post! What's so beautiful is you went outside yourself to help someone you didn't have to! So inspiring!

ReJOYce! said...

Amen! Have a Great Weekend!

Ashley said...

You are such an inspiration to your readers. I admit that I sometimes find myself in a state of selfishness and I hope that I have the strength to reach out to others more. You are such a beautiful woman and I am glad you were able to experience such a wonderful thing. Have a great weekend!

Mrs. G.I. Joe said...

That's really a great post. I'm ashamed to say I've thought the same thing before when seeing people in need. I've thought "What did THEY do to get themselves there?" That's such a messed up assumption.

Those of us who are blessed with much (not just materially speaking) should never turn up our nose at those who are hurting or in need. Even if its just some kind words...those things go along way to bless someone else's life.

Ashley said...

Oh my gosh I love DD Peckers too! We used to go to Wing Stop and then it closed down. Then we found DD Peckers. We love that place too...its about ten minutes away for us. This new place Wings and Rings is literally two minutes away...over by Blakeney. You have to try it!

Kelly said...

Cute blog! I am also a NC girl.

S.I.F. said...

I think we all need reminders sometimes that we are not the only ones with problems - that our problems are not the only ones that matter. I loved this post!

ty said...

Thank you for this. I think I find myself doing the exact same thing all too often. Thank you soo so much for the reminder.

Stacey said...

Making your mamma proud!

Natasha said...

Just know we all have thoughts like that and we're not bad people because of it... you did a great thing and its funny how God has people remind us of just how lucky we truly are when we think we have it hard... OXOX

Aly @ Analyze This said...

How sweet of that woman to give you such wonderful, inspiring words. We're all guilty of judging...And we've all been judged in some way or another.

Great "pick me" post!

Oh, and I'm your newest follower! :)



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