Ordinary Kindness

by | Mar 24, 2022 | Seeds eNewsletter

Crouton a Shih Tzu DogMy 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.

Cup Crane Word RibbonRecently, we arrived home from errands to find a bag on our front porch. To our surprise it contained a jade plant in a lovely ceramic put, an origami peace crane and a coiled strip of paper with handwritten words written on it. The accompanying note was from “the lady with two poles” letting us know that she was moving, and she wanted us to have these things. What a surprise! We were neither the closest house nor did we have a friendship. She was clearly responding to Belinda’s acts of kindness.
It was easy to understand that she might need to give away her houseplant for this move. Belinda immediately gravitated to the peace crane and took it to her room. I looked at the ribboned words. Some of the words were misspelled and almost threw it away, but then decided to keep it on my vanity for a while. And I am so glad I did! The words have become an anchoring place during these dark days of this anguishing war.

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.