Small Kindnesses

You know who had a great day yesterday? This gal.

super tanker

Two words: Super. Tanker.

I road-tripped with Paul and the JV basketball team (and left the littles home with an awesome babysitter and it was wonderful!) and Paul and I shared this extra-large beaut. SWEET.

The following is my weekly column for The Southern Cross and look, I know I can preach a lot of kindness and love but somedays are just going to be better than others. Of course life in Christ means we technically aren’t allowed to operate exclusively out of our feelings and moods. We need to rise above. But caffeine? It always helps.

Weekly column

My husband and I have a weekly Sunday ritual that involves eating at a beloved diner while our boys attend Parish Religious Education after the early Mass.

A few years ago, Paul’s dad started coming with us, to church and to breakfast. It’s really a sweet little schedule that involves Mr. B (as I call Paul’s dad) driving our boys to Mass early to serve the altar, and then us eating together after. (To boot, my dad drives my boys to school every day, another remarkably generous act of love. Our children are blessed to have their grandparents in their lives.)

When the boys don’t have PRE, during the summertime and holidays, we all go eat at the same restaurant, week after week.

For some reason, it never gets old.

Last week, as we typically do, Paul and Isabel and I arrived to find Mr. B already at a table. We discovered the restaurant was more crowded than normal due to a group of about twenty people seated at several tables put together.

As I always do, I went back and forth between ordering the Sunrise Special and the oatmeal and in the meantime one of the servers came over with our iced teas, which they always remember without us asking.

We enjoyed our meal and when I grabbed the small black folder holding our check, I opened it to find that someone had already paid our bill. And just like in the movies, my jaw dropped.

I didn’t know what to say. It’s silly, I’m sure; you hear of such kindnesses all the time. Except, when you are on the receiving end of such generosity, it is quite overwhelming indeed.

As it turns out, that large group had paid for our meal. They were a group from the Baptist church down the street and when they paid their bill that morning, they left instructions to pay for the tabs of twelve other tables as well.

A simple act of love, a small kindness that felt so very big.

I was still overcome by the kind act an hour later when Paul and I took our six children to our other Sunday stop — the grocery store. We like to zip through and grab brunch for the boys while getting our requisite five-to-seven gallons of milk for the week.

As I headed towards the checkout, I noticed a woman standing at the cash register without a cart. Another couple walked up behind her, just at the time the other lady’s husband, pushing a loaded cart, caught up with his wife.

“I’ve been looking for you,” was the wife’s sweet greeting, explaining to the couple behind her why she had been standing there alone.

And the lady, the one now waiting when she thought she wouldn’t have to, gave absolutely no smile whatsoever. She stood ramrod straight and then turned and rolled her eyes at her husband.

Another small act, this one so very different.

I thought for a minute that I couldn’t possibly know was going on in that second woman’s life. Maybe she and her husband were in a rush, maybe they had severe hardship in their life to make a kind reaction out of the question. But oh what a difference her attitude made.

We have such power in the way we treat other people.

Throughout our day, we have so many so many opportunities to be loving to those around us. Generous acts of bills paid, generous acts of a smile returned. Kindnesses big and small that really do make a difference.

I was inspired that day to work harder to spread love and joy to those around me — out in public and especially in my home. Depending on the day, one is always easier than the other.

It’s more than just “being nice.” It’s more than just a good feeling. It’s being Jesus, bringing his joy and peace, to a world that is always in need his love.

Comments

  1. I read your blog, and I feel like you would really like this to post! You have to listen and like/share this video!! This girl is a 21 year old New York Fashion student, and she isn’t even a singer but felt God’s love so much she just decided to get up in front of us (her new church group) and sing. The song is a cover of Spoken by Mercy Me. Its Live so she had a few mess ups but it honestly is one of the most amazing powerful songs/voices I have ever seen or heard!!! Please Listen and share with everyone!! It’s s awesome to see young women on fire with God, especially in the fashion industry and new york, so inspiring!! Her heart is definitely Spoken for.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-0OnCJkO3g

  2. That’s really neat that the group paid for your meal and several other people’s. It is so true that something seemingly small can make such a huge difference, either positively or negatively. Your story, especially at the grocery store, made me think of something that happened to me yesterday. I saw a neighbor of ours walking to the store in the cold, so I offered her a ride, then parked outside and told her I’d wait until she was finished to give her a ride back home. I was sitting in a parking spot near the entrance of the store, but when another one opened up that would be easier to see her come out of, I moved to that one, though as I had halfway pulled in, I realized another car was heading for it from the other direction. I pointed to the spot behind me I’d just vacated, but I didn’t leave the spot. I was worried that this neighbor wouldn’t see me waiting and that I would miss her, so I kept the parking spot and intended to explain to the couple when they walked by what I was doing. Our neighbor exited the store before I got a chance to do that. You’re right that sometimes what looks like someone being rude can be a misinterpretation of things. In other situations, it’s an accurate read of a situation that could have been handled in a much nicer way.

  3. That photo makes me want to stand up and applaud your bladder.

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  1. […] screamed “THAT’S SO AWESOME!” I was reminded of all those reactions when I read Rachel Balducci’s take on small kindnesses. To me, it seems like people place their own fears when responding to our  news. They fear they […]