I was walking home this morning in the rain. Across a busy intersection, an elderly woman with a walker stood waiting. When the lights changed, I made my way towards her. By the time I reached the middle of the intersection, three people had surrounded her, one stopping traffic, two ready to guide her to the other side.
All morning I’d been thinking about kindness. Matt Callahan of We Make Good Happen spoke on 6Music in the early hours today about how buying someone groceries changed his life. It reminded me of the time I was newly divorced, toting two young children, and turned up at the doors of a food pantry in Missouri. They didn’t ask me to fill out any forms. They assumed, if I was asking for help, I needed it.
My first Christmas alone, a little over a year later, I went to the local hospital with a bag full of books. I thought maybe someone in the hospital on Christmas Day might be sadder, lonelier than I was. I went to the nurse’s station, and they found two adults waiting for surgery, alone, without family. I read The Man Who Planted Trees to one of them. He told me it was the first time he’d been read to since elementary school. He fell asleep before I finished the book. For those few moments though, I felt a little less lonely.
If you’re feeling low this Christmas, maybe a bit of kindness is just the cure. And if you want a song to get you going, give a listen to Ben Harper’s ‘My Own Two Hands’.