Power of Kindness
You May Never Know How Powerful
Let me be blunt. Kindness is far more powerful than it is given credit for. The kind word, the caring touch, the outstretched hand, they can be transformitive. They can change lives. Given at the right moment, an act of kindness can save a life teetering on the edge of despair or oblivion. Some will dismiss this contention as Pollyanna, the rose colored thinking of a weak mind, or a spineless person unfit for this dog-eat-dog, get ahead at any cost world. I have a strong response for that cynical attitude ... but it would be unkind in the extreme.
Let me tell you a story instead. Some years ago, I was hospitalized with a massive ear infection. It left me temporarily deaf in my right ear, with half my face frozen because the infection was pressing against the nerve that operates that half of my face running at the base of the ear canal and shutting off the commands from my brain, and I had just had a stint placed in my ear to slowly relieve the pressure and drain the ear. It had been a bad day. For the first four hours after my arrival and the insertion of an IV through which I would receive four different antibiotics, I slept. Family came to visit. And then I made a big discovery. When you're in the hospital and not terribly ill, there are long hours when there is very little to do. There is the TV, there is any reading material you have brought with you, there are the occasional visits of the staff tending to you. After that, there's you, your bed, and ... waiting. The hardest part about the hospital stay is the uncertainty over when it will end.
I found a conversation with one nurse illuminating. I told her it must be tough working in a place where all the patients were anxious to leave, to get away from the staff. She laughed and told me, no, the patients who are ready to leave make her happy. It's the ones who are so sick they don't care they are still in the hospital who worry her and the rest of the staff.
On the second day, feeling much better, the uncertainty was gnawing at me ... when could I leave, would I ever get the use of my face back ... and so on. I was between visits of family and friends, left to my own devices. Daytime TV held little appeal and I found myself hauling my portable, beeping robot friend, Mr. IV, through the short corridors I had access to. I was looking out one window or another at the world outside and wishing I were there. It was depressing and my mood was flagging. Then I rounded one corner and came upon a window with a view of another rooftop to a different part of the hospital and the access-way from my window to that rooftop. The access-way was apparently used by maintenance crews to repair the rooftop air conditioner on the other, lower roof. Both the rooftop and the access-way were covered in cobblestones. There was a raised drain on that access-way and two cobbles had been set on end, leaning against the raised drain, and facing my window. Some maintenance man or woman had paused while about his or her business, taken out a Sharpie, and drawn a smiling face on each of those cobbles and carefully placed them so they faced the window.
Seeing those two small, smiling faces beaming back at me in an unexpected place really raised my spirits in that difficult moment. I have no idea why the person who placed those faces there did that. Was it to amused her or himself or make a colleague laugh. I'll never know. But for me, in that moment and that place, it was a powerful act of kindness. It gave me an unexpected laugh that did wonders for the rest of my day. It doesn't take much sometimes to change a person's mood and give them a blessing to hang on to throughout the day. Kindness can be very powerful.
This maintenance person will never know what this small act did for me and for others like me. I wish I could tell this kind person what it meant. We live in a world in which we have come to want and expect instant results and to receive some gratification for what we do. I suggest this may not be the best way to approach the day. I suggest instead live a life of kindness, be a blessing to others, be a powerful person, and never expect a return. I think you'll find living that life to be a reward in itself. And, from time to time, someone may let you know how much of a difference your small act of kindness makes in that person's life, at a particular moment when he or she needed it most. If not, let this story assure you that you are doing the right thing. Be kind and make a difference in the world.
A Kindness Challenge
If you would like to be challenged to be kinder to others and would like some suggestions how you might do this, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2013/12/commit-acts-of-kindness-today-and-always.html
More by this Author
Captain Kirk and his die cast shuttle craft! From a late 1960s television series canceled after three measly seasons, Star Trek has grown over the decades to include eleven full length feature films (counting...
This short article was inspired by a brief discussion with a pastor I know and the arrival of the tract below. God prods us in innovative ways (but that's another story). The pastor stated he'd received a challenge from...
If sinusitis just won't let you go, your problem may not be all in your head ... as you'll soon see.