Last year we were challenged to make a point of giving a blessing to strangers. One idea was to ask servers in restaurants and clerks in check-out lines how their day is going. So, for about a year I’ve been doing that. Most often, people will smile and I will hear about either a good day, or a litany of small things that have gone wrong. Some are anxious for their shift to end. Teenagers are almost universally tired. Usually we end with smiles.
One clerk hesitated for a moment, then told of phoning her eight-year old daughter at her break and listening to her crying. Her dad was not at home, not would he be. The story was a painful story, of a dad making bad choices and about to get into trouble with the law. The mom was standing firm, realizing that this was a time for setting limits on his behavior and choices. Still, her heart was breaking at her daughter’s pain. Sharing a burden, even with a stranger, lessens our stress. It gives us a moment to think through our decisions. We pause in our anxiety.
In all of our worlds there are people who feel unloved and uncared for. We encounter God’s children in difficult circumstances who need a word of encouragement. Words of appreciation or concern take only a few minutes, but let a friend know that we care and they are in our thoughts. As I was shooting off an email one day, it came to me – It really takes so little to be kind.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
There is no law against such things.” Galatians 5:22-23