I’ve definitely been really excited about it; the prospect of blessing people each day is a good thought. Once doing one, there is also huge satisfaction at the end of the day knowing that someone is going to sleep tonight just a little bit more well off. But the problem is, the prospect is the easy bit.
The practice is difficult.
Once it actually comes to doing the task, I find myself struggling with the fear of going up to a random stranger to help them out.
Maybe I overstate the case, but it’s definitely pretty scary just offering to be kind to someone. Weird, huh. I guess the anticipation of their rejection is what freaks me out.
I hear the conversation in my head go something like this:
Me: ” H…hi…hi, there…hi, ummm…I wonder, errr, could I maybe…ummm…buy that coffee….errr…maybe, if…if it’s not too odd…could, maybe, by any chance…if you wanted…I could buy your coffee for you…sorry…?”
Random Stranger : “No, you can’t, weirdo”
Know what I mean? I have these fears that I’m going to be rejected outright and laughed at. Stupid, right.
The reality I’ve found, once getting over my irrational fears, is that, mostly, people are alright. In fact, not only are people alright, but quite often they are pretty blown away by the simple act of someone just being kind to them. They don’t understand it, and rather than dismiss it, they ask questions about it.
Me: “Hi mate, I know it’ll sound a bit weird, but I’d love to buy your coffee for you if that’s ok?”
RS: “Errr, yeah, I guess so. How come? Are you trying to sell me something?!”
Me: “Nope, no sales pitch, I promise. I’d just like to bless you today, you looked like a nice guy who deserved some kindness.”
RS: “What, just because? ”
Me: “Yeah, absolutely. Instead of giving anything up for lent, I’ve decided to take up kindness. This is a great way that I can be kind to you”
RS: “Ummm, wow. I don’t really know what to say. Thank you, thanks…”
Me: “That’s my pleasure, mate, have a good one”
RS: “You too, mate, you too”
And that might be it. That might the sum total of the conversation. I might never mention God, or the fact that I’m a follower of Jesus. I might never mention Church or try to convert them. The act of kindness itself is a good thing.
Maybe the conversation will develop where you get to talk about why you’re being kind (Jesus), or the origin of kindness (God). Maybe you get to talk about lent and why that’s important. Maybe you might even be able to invite them along to your church.
All of the above are okay. Showing people kindness stands on it’s own as a good thing to do. In a very “me” centred world, choosing to be kind to another is so counter cultural it can stop people in their tracks.
But, in part, this is about us too. The act of being kind makes us kind. My goal at the end of this is not just to have blessed people, but to have develop a habit, a rhythm, of kindness in my own life which lasts. A rhythm which becomes part of who I am rather than just something I do.
So, keep up the kindness. Don’t stop now! It doesn’t matter if you’ve missed a day or two, it doesn’t matter if you’ve done different acts, it doesn’t matter if you only do a few of them. Keep going. Find ways to be kind and then go be kind.
I’m going to suck up my fears, knowing that an act of kindness can change someones world.
What an amazing privilege.
Soul Action Project Manager