My heart’s been warmed recently, with all the random acts of kindness I hear about in the media. It’s good to see this simple character trait becoming popular and trendy. No matter the results, it’s always good to treat others the way we’d want to be treated.
But sometimes, these attempted good deeds can go terribly wrong! Like the time I mailed a friend some chocolate brownies. I asked her later if she got them, and she said, “Oh, those were brownies?” Apparently, I hadn’t packed them well, and they got kind of . . . well, smashed. She thought I’d mailed her a box of dirt!
Then there was the time in college when I tried to help a friend move out of his apartment. I decided to mop the floors, and I felt so smart and domestic when I added a little bleach to the mop water. Those floors were gleaming, I tell you! I didn’t feel so smart, though, when bleached-out footprints started forming on his carpet. I didn’t think about the bleach getting on my shoes, and transferring to the carpet. Oops!
These kindness bloopers don’t just happen to me. A friend of mine shared that once, she bought a gourmet chocolate cake and left it anonymously on another friend’s doorstep. The person thought it was an old cake nobody wanted, and promptly tossed in the trash.
Sometimes, our acts of kindness aren’t received the way we want them to be. At times, people seem ungrateful. They might even scoff at our attempts, and that hurts! That makes us less willing to be kind in the future. But what we sometimes don’t realize is that our acts of kindness are just as much about becoming the types of people we want to be as about helping other people. So if we do something kind, and the recipient doesn’t realize or care what we’ve done, we can still feel satisfied about our actions. After all, wouldn’t you rather be the kind one and have someone else be the ungrateful one, rather than the other way around?
And after all, we never know whose life will be changed, because of a simple act. Take my friend, Kim, for example. Once, she witnessed the car in front of her hit something on the highway; two of its wheels blew out. The driver pulled over, and although she and her daughter were on their way to a fun shopping day at the mall, they decided to stop and offer help.
The man was holding his chest; he’d been driving himself to the hospital because he thought he was having a heart attack! Kim transported him to the hospital, where he later did have a heart attack. Fortunately, he got the care he needed, was hospitalized for a week, and survived.
So in spite of my occasional gaffes, I’m going to keep looking for ways to show kindness to others. I’ll do my best to brighten others’ days and make their lives a little easier, a little more pleasant.
Just don’t ask me to mop your kitchen.
“Love is kind . . .” 1 Corinthians 13:4.