My daughter, Belinda, and our Shih Tzu—a.k.a. Crouton—can be seen walking together in our neighborhood. Belinda is friendly and open hearted, so she knows the names of many of our two and four legged neighbors. Crouton has an adorable charm that attracts folks’ attention. Together they make quite the pair. In the course of these walks, they frequently encountered a woman making her way with two walking sticks. Belinda knows that her name is Kristi, a resident of the adult care center a few houses away. She also knows that Kristi loves dog—especially the likes of little Crouton. Knowing this, Belinda would stop and share the bench while Kristi rested so that Crouton and Kristi could cuddle and enjoy one another. Sometimes we smilingly call this “puppy ministry;” but really, it was just an act of noticing another and acting kindly. An act of enlarging your ordinary to include someone else.
Blue skies. New beginnings. Balance. Enough. Peacefulness. Plenty. Puppies. Pansies. Purple hearts. Goodness. Generosity. Giving. Community care. Share. Love. Kindness.
And when I read them each time, I hear the voice of the Ukrainian woman who was asked after the invasion what she wanted to tell the rest of the world—she replied to be grateful for the blue skies. I also hear the voice of scripture guiding us to fill our minds with “the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” (Philippians 4:8) And it fills my soul to know that the very real power of kindness isn’t waiting for our lives to be happy and peaceful or have it “all together.” It is available in every moment we look at another and share our goodness of the ordinary.