I spent last week in the hospital with my husband. Loooooong story, but he is fine. He is, however, without a bb that has been with him since he was first grade! Like I said, long story. It also made for a long week. Hospital stays are never fun, but when they are completely unexpected it makes for a scrambled mind trying to figure out who will do the things you are supposed to be doing. I was spent.
And, then, every day I got rejuvenated just a bit, at the oddest times. Every time I went downstairs to get coffee. Every time a nurse came in. Every time I had to leave to go home and get new clothes. You may find it hard to believe, but this is a true story.
Everyone was so….kind.
The person in scrubs hurrying by who was obviously on a mission, yet stopped to open the door for me unasked since my hands were full of coffee. The lady manning the cafeteria who gave me a water for free when she saw that mine had gotten stuck in the vending machine, even though the cafeteria was closed and the vending machines did not belong to the actual hospital. The men at the security stations who took the time to smile and wish me a good day. The guy driving me to my car in the complimentary golf cart in the pouring rain who had so many people to cart around, and still took the time to ask about my day. The lady at the cash register in the cafeteria who consistently complimented what I was wearing. Now, I know I looked a raggedy mess, but she just made my day anyway. The young girl working the café in the lobby who brightened with a smile when I came down for more coffee and encouraged me each time. The nurses, all the nurses, who had such compassion on a bewildered couple whose plans did not include a hospital stay. The doctors who sat and took the time to explain what tests and procedures were needed, and why. Particularly the doctor, who I later learned had to be an extremely busy man, who was so kind to give us time to pray and decide about a surgery we were unsure of, even though he was recommending it. He graciously said he would come back in an hour or two, and lo and behold, he did.
Complete strangers, every one.
Man. What a change kindness made in my life this week. I am sure every last one of these people had stresses and life situations that would have made very good reasons to be unkind to a total stranger. After all, why should they be kind to me? They don’t know me and will likely never see my face again. Yet they chose kindness anyway.
It made all the difference.
And, funny thing about kindness—it spreads. It’s contagious. I know from experience there are a lot of things you do not want to catch in the hospital, but I am so glad I caught kindness. I was able to serve my husband in kindness from the blessing of others’ kindness toward me. God’s Fruit of the Spirit is cool like that. You can pick it and it give it away and share it and use it and it will never, ever run out.
I think being in an exceptionally vulnerable state helped me be more aware of the small, and great, kindnesses offered me. I hate to think what my week would have been like had I experienced the opposite. I’d like to tell you that wouldn’t have been contagious, but I know better. Around our house, we call it getting slimed. Someone is mean or unkind or impatient or frustrated with you, and you carry those things right on to someone else. Hey—let’s don’t do that.
I am thinking about a blog my daughter wrote not too long ago where she said kindness takes such a short amount of time and costs absolutely nothing. I need to remind myself of this. And if I’m tempted to forget, I pray the faces of those who blessed me last week will pop up in my mind and I will remember the tremendous effect it had on me. It didn’t take them long, it was completely free to offer, and I was better because they did.
If you’ve done something small or great lately out of sheer kindness for another person, thank you. Maybe they didn’t get to tell you what a difference it made, but you can be assured it did. If you haven’t, you can start today! The next person you come upon can be blessed with your smile, a hello, a kind word. I know we are busy. I know we are focused. But God has been so kind to us. And Ephesians 4:32 tells us to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted…”. Oh, to have a tender heart! Let’s try it out this week.
Love you all!