As kids, our mother liked to reference one of the few Bible verses that she knew: In doing kindness, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your kindness may be in secret, and your Father who is seeing in secret Himself shall reward you. (Matt 6:3-4) In other words, don’t brag if you’ve done something nice. Mother said that if you tell someone what you did, the heaven credit gets cancelled out.
I always pictured a couple of guardian angels watching and happy that I had done something good, then saddened when I ran home and bragged about it. (Darn it! She almost had it! Now we have to start over.)
Of course, I cannot tell you about MY acts of kindness, but I can tell you about a few that I appreciated because they were unexpected and made me feel especially loved.
- My older sister bestowed the first remembered act of kindness on me. She was 6-1/2 and I was 2-1/2 and our parents farmed us out to our grandparents when Mother had our baby sister. Our aunt took us to the Kiddie Karnival near Brackenridge Park and decided that we should ride the mini-ferris wheel. I didn’t want to ride it because it looked too big, there was rust on the seat, and my aunt wanted to take a photo with me next to my older cousin. I wanted to sit next to my big sister who ended up getting a spanking for trying to save me.
- When I was in 2nd grade, I gave away my Easter eggs to kids who weren’t able to find any. That could have been MY act of kindness, but my teacher saw what I did, told everyone, and arranged a special prize for the child who got the least eggs who was me since I had given all mine away. She blew the whistle on my act of kindness and earned her own act of kindness pat on the back.
- Years ago when our dad was in a San Antonio hospital, I ran myself ragged checking on him and mother and racing back to Corpus Christi to take care of my job and GE who was 3 at the time. Her babysitter was one of those originators of kindness acts. One evening when I came to pick up GE, Frances greeted me with steak, baked potatoes, corn, and salad so GE and I didn’t have to cook. It was a feast and I had to do nothing except take my daughter home and eat.
I just realized that I don’t have enough time to list all the acts of kindness I’ve been given. My little sister has freely given her time to take care of both my children, my children have surprised me with unexpected gifts at time when I needed a boost, friends and family have surrounded me when I felt helpless and hopeless after Jack died.
They say that when you listen carefully, God will use others to speak what you need to hear. I believe that these acts of kindness, however little or big, let me see God when I need to remember that God Is here.