One warm, sunny day, while cooking supper for his family on a grill in a park, a stranger of a different race and culture called over to me and offered me a place to sit in my beach chair, which was closer to his space. His offer was completely unsolicited. I didn’t have my clerical collar on at the time. He just saw where I was situated and noted that the place nearer his area was cleaner and more level than where I was sitting. This kind stranger went out of his way to invite me to a more comfortable spot next to his.
It’s the unexpected kindnesses like that which come my way on occasion that can stop me in my tracks. And it doesn’t have to be a big deal or anything, just something small and thoughtful. It’s when I experience a person going beyond him/herself, reaching out and offering to make a difference in my life, usually only for a moment. But, no matter how brief and seemingly insignificant it might be, as I think about that kindness, it touches my soul and brings me closer to the truth of who we really are: brothers and sisters in the family of God. It demonstrates goodness and love; it points to the best in the human person. For us Christians, it images the person of Christ – an encounter that makes Jesus alive in a simple gesture of care for another person.
How has kindness touched your heart recently? Or, what kindness have you extended that touched another’s heart? Matthew Kelly in his book, The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity, calls these “Holy Moments.” We can’t underestimate what a difference such consideration and care can make. The slower, reflective days of summer affords us some time to think about those experiences of kindness – both received and given. Let those recollections touch something deeper within you and see what may result. The Holy Spirit finds these moments fertile ground in which to inspire and bless us.
May you have a blessed summer!