"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
I was with one of my favorite friends who now lives in Florida yesterday, sadly she was in Indianapolis to attend the funeral of her 28 year old son and to make arrangements to bring his two very young children and their mother to Florida to live with her and her partner. My friend is one of the kindest and most caring people I ever met and my heart was broken when I learned of the death of her son so early in life. I could feel her pain but I also saw how her capacity to care allowed her to rise up to the role she will now play in the lives of her two young grandchildren. For all the years I have known her I have felt her most outstanding feature was her constant demonstration of love for her fellow human beings. There is no way that I could possibly describe the goodness she exhibits so I want to share a story I got from a Steve Brunkhorst mailing some time ago for it reminded me of my friend Nancy the first time I read it and it still does’
The Underestimated Power of Kindness
It was a bright Saturday morning in late fall, 2004. I had stopped at a cafe’ to enjoy a cup of coffee and scan the morning newspaper. Suddenly, I felt a hand on the back of my jacket and heard someone say, "Hey Steve! How ya doin’?" Looking up, I saw a boy wearing a mechanic’s uniform worn by employees of the gasoline station next to the cafe’. He looked familiar, but, at first, I was unable to recall where we had met. He also held a cup of coffee, so I asked him to join me. Very soon, his story – and probably my coffee – began to thaw out my memory.
Five years earlier, he had been traveling home late one February night with a group of friends. A ferocious blizzard had arrived that afternoon, and by midnight, the snow drifts were getting deep. He recalled hitting a drift just down the road from my house. He had walked to my house for help. I had taken my pickup and tow rope, and pulled him out of the snow drift and up to the highway where maintenance trucks had cleaned away the snow. This has been a common occurrence here during the winter. I cannot count the times someone has also pulled my car from a snow drift.
However, it was an unforgettable experience for him. He was only eighteen at the time, and he described how frightened he had been. That was not a storm one would want to be stuck in all night. Within a couple hours, my pickup would not have made it to the highway. As it turned out, his memory and account of that snowy night was a very unexpected – and much appreciated – kindness toward me. I thanked him sincerely for stopping to chat during his break.
His memory of our unexpected meeting in a snow storm brightened my day, and an old acquaintance became a new friend. Since then, we’ve had more chats over a Saturday morning cup of coffee. Such simple actions, as Leo Buscaglia suggested in today’s quote, can indeed have an underestimated power.
There are many people who desperately need kind words, smiles, and listening ears – ears that will hear without judging and respond without possessing. One simple kindness at the right moment can change the direction of a life and shine a light of hope when all light seems to have gone out. Sometimes it has the power to save a life.
Here is a great quote that I keep in my journal. It was written by William Penn…
"I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."
"Because I took a moment to speak
And you took a second to smile
A tiny part of me will leave with you
And a little bit of you will stay."
Two husbands, Bill and Doug, were discussing their married lives.
Although happily married, they admitted that there were arguments sometimes.
Then Bill said, "I’ve made one great discovery. I now know how to always have the last word."
"Wow!" said Doug, "How do you manage that?"
"It’s easy," replied Bill. "My last words are always ‘Yes, Dear.’"
"The Five Stages of Life"
To Grow Up
To Fill Out
To Slim Down
To Hold It In
To Hell With It
City Boy: Say, Dad, how many kinds of milk are there?
Father: Well, there’s evaporated milk, buttermilk, malted milk, and — but why do you wish to know?
City Boy: Oh, I’m drawing a picture of a cow, and I want to know how many *spigots* to put on her.
"No birth is an accident, no experience is without meaning, and no life is without value."
A priest was given the job of hearing the confessions of an order of monks. The priest returned to his parish that night and complained to one of the nuns about how long each of the monks took to enumerate all of their sins.
"Oh Father," said the nun. "It couldn’t have been that bad."
The priest replied, "Oh it was worse than you can imagine. It was like being stoned to death with popcorn."
Funny, I don’t remember being absent minded.
The kindergarten class had settled down to its coloring books. Willie came up to the teacher’s desk and said, "Miss Francis, I ain’t got no crayons."
"Willie," Miss Francis said, "you mean, "I don’t have any crayons.’ You don’t have any crayons. We don’t have any crayons. They don’t have any crayons. Do you see what I’m getting at?"
"Not really," Willie said, "What happened to all them crayons?"
"I think Little League (baseball) is wonderful. It keeps the kids out of the house."
A minister decided to try something a little different one Sunday morning.
He said, "Today, in church, I am going to say a single word and you are going to help me preach. Whatever single word I say, I want you to sing whatever hymn comes to your mind." The pastor shouted out, "Cross!"
Immediately the congregation started singing in unison "The Old Rugged Cross."
The pastor hollered out, "Grace!" The congregation began to sing "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound."
The pastor said, "Power!" The congregation sang "There is Power in the Blood."
The Pastor said, "Sex!"
The congregation fell in total silence. Everyone was in shock. They all nervously began to look around at each other, afraid to say anything. Then all of a sudden, from the back of the church, a little old 87-year-old grandmother stood up and began to sing "Precious Memories."
"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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