Two cars approached a lone parking spot, one from west, one from the east. There was no clear indication of who could claim getting to the spot first. They both slowed for a second—and then a decision was made. The car going west flashed its lights, signaling for the car going east to proceed safely and without argument into the parking spot. Both drivers were seen giving small waves as one vehicle parked and the other kept looking. One can easily imagine other ways in which this most ordinary situation could play out. But something better prevailed.
Was it a random act of kindness? I don’t think so. There is nothing random at all about making a decision to be kind. Kindness is a great intentionality of the heart. It changes the way we interact with the world. If we make a decision to respond with a measure of kindness to all the things that life brings us, it will certainly impact the lives of those around us. The person who is kind consistently—not just once in a while, but as a matter of choice, habit, and intentionality—is the person I want to be.
It was Aesop, the legendary Greek storyteller, who perhaps said it best: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” For more than 2,500 years, those words have inspired people like you and me to do the kind thing, to be aware and responsive to the ordinary opportunity to act with consideration and kindness.
I don’t wake up thinking about it. In fact I don’t know what they will be, but there are opportunities to live kindly waiting for me today. It may be in line at the grocery store. It may be waiting for me in a heavy bag that can be carried, or an elevator door that can be held, or even a smile when none was required. It could be an email to a friend, or remembering a birthday, or just expressing appreciation for the way someone does their job.
Kindness is close to the heart of all that we do. It is part of the sacred task to which we have been called. Kindness is key to the excellent healthcare through which we make real the loving character of God.