Thursday, July 23, 2015

All over everything like chocolate on a hot summer day

Even when we didn't think we were doing it, we all watched our moms.  The power of imitation is how we learned to do things. Even when we were looking the other way, even when we claimed we were not listening, moms have a sneaky way of getting through our defenses.

My mom defined kindness that way for me.

Mom was kind to everyone.  It didn't matter if she knew them or not.  We used to say that she would speak with no less respect to the girl who cleared the table at Old Country Buffet than to the Queen of England.  Poor had nothing to do with economics, but anyone in need, obvious or not.

Mom could inherently sense need in people.  She knew that some of the neediest people on earth were the ones who least appeared that way.  Loneliness, isolation, and broken hearts are readily disguised.  She also knew how it felt to be invisible, when no one even acknowledges you are there.

And so, mom traveled through her life with X-ray vision and surprising people with kindness. To the woman cleaning toilets in the restroom, she would stop and thank her for her hard work. And to a wealthy socialite at a large party, she would embrace with the same warmth, knowing that under the layers there are deep and hidden heartaches. I remember her habitually talking with housekeepers in motels when we traveled, asking about their day and their families. She took great delight in loving on people, whether she knew them or not.

In one of the last times I was with her before she passed away, we were stopped by construction workers fixing the road on a sweltering Florida afternoon.  "Here, here," she called frantically from the backseat, handing me her well-worn sun hat.  "That man has nothing to cover his head.  It is so hot outside. Please give it to him!"

Whatever she had, whenever she could.  Kindness was not something she did.  It was how she saw everything around her.

And like chocolate on a hot summer's day, kindness gets all over everyone.

No act of kindness is ever random.
No act of kindness is ever in vain.
It is intentional,
       it multiplies exponentially,
and it reverberates forever.

He who is kind to the poor
        lends to the LORD,
and He will repay him
                for his deed.

               Proverbs 19. 17

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