Kindness will get plenty of play today on Channel K of the A to Z Challenge Network.
In the A to Z Challenge today, K is for Kindness. Roughly 37,000 bloggers will pick this word today, over gems such as Koozie, Keg, and Knuckles. That’s okay. Words on kindness are sort of like big floppy slices of cheese pizza. Is there really ever too much?
This post, though, will reveal a time kindness escaped me.
It’s not the first time and definitely won’t be the last.
There are lessons in failing, though. Mine equal roughly 37,000 textbooks. That’s not a coincidence. I’ve failed at kindness, in real life. This time, it was for an older man who sat in a car on the side of the road on an especially chilly Carolina morning.
By chilly, Carolina style, I mean in the teens.
Who is the kindness for, anyway?
I’d just dropped Elise off at school in heavy traffic. I caught a glimpse of this man’s face as I drove by. His eyes watered from the cold wind through an open car window. If he wasn’t scared, he at least was unsure. I hoped someone would help.
As I got to the next traffic light, I couldn’t see his car.
I don’t know if he got his car running again, or if someone stopped to help. Or if his car was just out of sight.
He stayed in my thoughts all day. What makes us act with kindness one moment, but bypass it the next? I trust someone stopped to check on this man. It’s not up to me – or you – to champion every wayward cause that crosses our paths. Kindness isn’t just rescuing those who need rescuing, after all.
Kindness ought to be so natural a component we don’t even recognize its presence – just its absence.
It’s not just for strangers and the lost. It’s for acquaintances for who a little encouragement could mean the world. It’s for those we love most, those we make feel loved and safe, to hear them when they speak, even when the words are hard to hear.
It’s putting your fear and feelings aside in moments like that to simply hold a hand and cherish a heart.
Kindness for a stranger? Noble, worthy, and the work of all of us. Kindness for those we love? Noble, worthy and the lifeblood of what makes love true. We know in our hearts they’d do the same, for us.
My friend Louise of Baby Gates Down inspired this post, too. Check out Ripples, Waves & My Compassion Lens to see how.