Few things are more refreshing than receiving an unexpected kindness, especially from a stranger. Sometimes it is having the door held for you when your hands are full or being motioned to go ahead in a traffic jam. One busy Monday morning I was told at the Starbuck’s drive through that the car before had paid for whatever I had ordered because the driver would do that every Monday morning for the first car behind him. The amount was put on his tab and the words “Pay it forward” were to given by the barrista to the surprised next driver.
The feeling of receiving a kindness can become the motivation to practice acts of anonymous kindness, No act of kindness, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time, is ever wasted. It is the softness in a reply, the patience to repeat, the generous tip, the sincere compliment that not only encourages the one who receives the kindness but ironically builds emotional wellness in the giver. Sometimes the greatest kindness lies in restraint.
In a world full of violence and in our own worlds of stress and conflict, it may be time to “try a little kindness.” Kindness is not weakness; it is controlled strength. the quality of mercy.