Kindness and Kleenex
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. ~Philippians 2:3-4
It sure has been an interesting week.
When I wrote last week’s post, I simply never could have imagined what life is like a week later. Kids are out of school. Restaurants are only offering carry out or delivery if they are open at all. The toilet paper aisle at the local WalMart is still empty (a quick shout out to my dad who just called me to say he had found some for me when he was out shopping today). Churches have cancelled services for the next couple of weeks and are hoping they will be able to gather again for Easter services. Working from home has become the new normal.
I’ll be honest. I thought I was handling it all really well until this morning. We started off our staff meeting by simply going around our very spread out circle, which included some staff members joining us remotely, to answer the question: How are you really doing? The stress got to me and I started crying. And crying is NOT something I do very often, especially in front of other people. And as much as I hated being overwhelmed in that moment, it was a powerful reminder of the power of simple, small, acts of kindness. One of my co-workers simply got up, walked over to a bookshelf, and violated the 6 foot apart rule to offer me a Kleenex.
It’s been these sorts of things I’ve been focusing on and celebrating in the midst of the news of panic buying and hoarding basic necessities. Moments like not being able to find the brand of mouthwash I like the best in the store yesterday and the lady standing next to me and noticing my inability to make a decision on a new brand to try saying, “You better just pick one, I’ve read so many different labels I have forgotten which one I is the one I actually want to buy so I have to read them again.” It made both of us laugh and smile for a moment in the midst of tense shoppers trying to find those one or two things they realized they didn’t have.
I also love seeing posts on Facebook like this one from a friend:
While I was at Walmart, the staff started to restock the toilet paper aisle. One woman very quietly approached a clerk and asked if she could have one package. She said she didn't have any at home. The clerk handed it to her and said, "Sure thing, happy wiping!" Then I met a couple that was walking by the end of the TP aisle. The guy looks down the row and says, "We should get some." The woman with him says, "That's not our brand." The guy is like, so?!? She says, "We have some at home. We don't need it. Someone else needs it more than we do." My faith in humanity is being restored.
It’s these stories of kindness being offered in the midst of a chaotic time which give me hope that we just might come out on the other side of this public health crisis as better people, a better society. It’s a powerful reminder of how important this gift of the Spirit is for those seeking to live a Christian life.
Kindness is a genuine compassion and respect for the humanity of others that moves us to act and speak in ways which build them up and care for them well. Kindness is action which expects no personal gain. It communicates, “I see you. I see your pain. And I believe you are worthy of love.” Kindness is often the most tangible way to express God’s love to others. In the midst of chaos like this, kindness is more important than ever.
So I want to challenge you this week: Show kindness to someone each day. Call that friend who is struggling with anxiety or the extrovert who is struggling with the isolation. Let a healthcare worker know you are praying for them and offer what you can to support them and their family right now since they don’t have the option of staying home and away from germs. Let someone else buy some toilet paper.
Personally, I love it when someone shares one of two things on social media:
Something which makes me laugh. In those moments I’m reminded to hang onto reasonable, logical, sane decision making. It keeps me from getting too overwhelmed by the worst case scenarios floating around out there.
Positive news about how other parts of the world are recovering from this outbreak. We are so in the midst of the onset here, it’s hard to see that there is a beyond. Life is starting to return to normal again in parts of the world which have been hit earlier and harder than the US. They have survived without their civilization crumbling around them. We will survive as well.
We are all in this together. Let’s ask God to help us grow each day in our ability to be kind to one another so we get through this together well.
Need laughter? Personally, I have greatly enjoyed the videos being posted by The Holderness Family. Click on the video to see one of my favorites. I’ll work on collecting my favorites from Facebook and post separately.
Need community? While we are asked to not gather in larger groups, we are offering some connections to camp community while we are all asked to practice social distancing.
Facebook Live – A 15 to 20 minute video targeting families with younger kids which features songs, skits, game ideas, and more! Click HERE to visit our Facebook page each weekday we are officially social distancing at 2:00PM!
YouTube Live – Join us for a live Bible study on the book of Mark through our YouTube channel each weekday at 3:00PM. This is targeted towards individuals who are in 6th grade and above, including adults! Get ready for jump into the book of Mark by reviewing our post on what the Gospel is all about by clicking HERE.
Thank someone who has been kind to you in some way recently.