We’ve all heard the phrase “random acts of kindness.” In the last few months I’ve been the recipient of a few of these special acts – and they have always come at just the time I needed them.
The first one was a few months ago. I was on administrative leave from my job and had been treated horribly by my bosses who for over a decade I had trusted and respected. While out running errands one day, I was desperately trying to avoid running through Dairy Queen for my guilty pleasure treat of a blizzard. Eventually though, my self-control dissolved andI found myself in the drive-thru ordering a blizzard. I pulled up to the window and handed my card to the clerk – he handed me the blizzard and said “I feel generous – there’s no charge for you.” The cost of a small blizzard is three dollars and change – not that significant. But the significance of this clerk’s kindness on a day when I felt so low, and so betrayed by so many (bosses and coworkers) meant more than I could have ever expressed. Saying “Thanks,” I managed to hold back my tears until I had pulled away from the window. I probably enjoyed that blizzard more than any I’ve ever had, not because it was free, but because it signified a generosity I wasn’t seeing much of at the time.
The second act of kindness was a few months later, several weeks after my employer had fired and then negatively portrayed my name and reputation publicly in a gross over-reaction to an event. One afternoon, our doorbell rang. I opened the door to one of my neighbors standing on my porch. My husband and I had owned our house for less than 6 months at the time so we hadn’t had the opportunity to really get to know our neighbors beyond saying “Hi” a few times and having short conversations at the end of the driveway. This neighbor said he had come over to let us know some family members would be parking their car on the street for a few days and he didn’t want us to be worried about the strange car. (After receiving threats from people on social media due to the public slander by my former employer, I appreciated the warning). He then said he had heard about what had happened in the news, and wanted us to know that him and his family were praying for us and had no judgement toward me. He then gave me two small Christian tokens for my husband and I. This act of kindness alone would be significant. What my neighbor did not know was just a few hours earlier, I had returned to my former employer to return some supplies that were at my house when I was unexpectantly fired. While I was treated respectfully during the interaction (I only had to interact with the secretary, and not my former boss), the finality of that act had shaken me that day. Realizing that I would likely never again return to the career that I had passionately served for the last decade was devastating. I had no doubt that my neighbor had been called by God to reach out that day because God knew I needed the sign of support, from my neighbor, and from Him.
So often, we feel urged to do something nice for someone else. Hopefully, we act on that urge. Then we go on about our days, probably thinking nothing about the encounter. We may never know how profound the effect of a simple act of kindness can be towards the recipient. This has been a great lesson for me to act on those thoughts and nudges from God to help someone else out. We must always remember God sees a much bigger picture than we do. A seemingly minor act may have an effect far greater for the recipient.