Try a Little Kindness
Foreign country, foreign language, and no idea how to get where we were going.
Tensions were rising. Frustration was palpable. I was ticked and getting “tickier” as time went by.
We were in Lausanne Switzerland, on our way to visit the YWAM base on the outskirts of town. Benjamin was planning to attend the Discipleship Training School at this base a few months from now, so we thought we would take a tour of the base and meet the leaders so we could all feel a little more comfortable with Benjamin’s big adventure. I had arranged this tour with the staff. The directions they provided seemed effective, but when we got to the end of the rail line we ran into problems.
None of the local bus drivers had heard of the street name the base was on. My pigeon French was not getting us very far. I decided to phone the base, but the nearest pay phone was a block away on the other side of a busy thoroughfare. The only way to get to it was underneath the intersection in an underground tunnel system. Numerous expeditions to the pay phone resulted in further frustration due to the fact that I kept getting voice mail.
We tried getting maps at the convenience store and the grocery store – more frustration attempting to explain myself through gestures and high school French. As I was getting more amped up, Benjamin was getting more passive. My way of dealing with stress began to clash with his way of dealing with stress. Why am I doing all this work? This is his future school. When he comes over to go to school he’s going to have to figure this out on his own…so you figure this out.
More frustration and conflict.
It didn’t help that this scenario came midway through our trip after spending copious amounts of time together in close quarters. Everything just seemed to add up to bad attitudes, anger, frustration, disappointment, self-pity and a motivation to call it quits. I was so worked up I was ready to write off YWAM and pull the pin on Benjamin’s entire adventure.
Do you ever find yourself knotted up like that over something, that in hindsight, wasn’t that big of a deal?
We decided to take a bus in the general direction we thought we needed to go, but stop at the local police station and ask for directions. A local woman got off at the same stop we did. She could sense we had no idea where we were going, so she asked if she could help. We told her our dilemma. She knew where the school was and pointed us to the bus stop we needed. We thanked her, the bus came and we were at the base in 5 minutes.
In spite of her kindness, we arrived at the base in a bit of a black cloud.
That’s when it happened…I experienced the power of kindness.
As we dragged our sorry selves up the driveway, the staff were all outside on the patio having lunch. One of the staff called out to us, “Hello, welcome here. How can I help you?” She intruded herself, then proceeded to extend kindness by offering us seats at a table, drinks, and lunch, all the while introducing us to a shwack of people – after she has shown genuine interest in us by asking a series of inquiring questions to find out who we were and where we had come from.
I got emotional.
Her kindness almost brought me to tears. I was shocked at the impact it had on me.
I learned a powerful lesson that day. Kindness is a profound way to demonstrate love. Jesus talked about the significance of giving a thirsty person a cup of cool water. Through kindness we love. Simple acts have powerful impact: letting a car merge in front of us, giving someone the last cookie, sharing your lunch with someone who doesn’t have one, giving someone a ride home when it’s out of your way – there are innumerable ways we can show kindness. And, therefore, there are innumerable ways we can love.
Never underestimate the power of kindness. You don’t have to be gifted to be kind. You simply need to try a little kindness.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
“Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward. “