Kindness ‘just shine your light for everyone to see’

Fruit of the Spirit

By Winston Dodge

COVID 19 – What an ugly word! When it hit our shores, fear and death came with it. Many people got sick. Some children, parents and spouses died. Most families were affected by this pandemic. COVID confined us to house arrest. We couldn’t visit our loved ones or shake hands with our friends. We couldn’t hug or kiss our family. We felt kidnapped by this enemy. Mental illness crept into many lives. Someone asked, “Is this the end of the world?” When we did get to visit or shop, we were forced to wear face masks and sanitizing was the order of the day.  People became irritable and frustrated. Kindness had gone out the window. We didn’t see it in the parking lot, in supermarkets, nor at checkouts and we certainly didn’t see it driving on our highways. What went wrong with friendly ordinary people?   Thankfully, vaccines were finally provided. I have seen cashiers and other staff wearing T shirts or tops, reminding us to “Be Kind.” More recently, a popular saying admonishes us to “Stay safe and be kind.”                                                            

Princess Diana said: “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”                             

Iaaac Newton, in the 17th century, said: “Kindness is one thing you can’t give away. It always comes back.”

Kindness is a powerful force that can transform lives, and mend broken hearts. This quality comes naturally to some people, while others need to make an effort to be kind. Kindness has the power to affect both the giver and receiver.                                                                 

You can show kindness by just saying good day, opening a door for someone or sending a card of encouragement to someone who is lonely. When you give someone a smile, it will come back to you.                                                                            

Someone said, “Give a little kindness to someone who may be mean, they need it the most.” Say something nice today to a cashier, Health Care Worker and our police. They will feel good and so will you.                                                                          

The Good Book tells us to love ourselves, our spouses, our children, our parents and our neighbors. Now, are you sitting down for this one? We are to love our enemies? Whoa, whoa. You must be kidding. You are telling me to show kindness to that person who gets under my skin?

U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying, that “The only safe and sure way to destroy an enemy is to make him your friend.”We sometimes allow an enemy or someone we dislike to live rent free in our minds. Be their friend and you will be free.                          

In 1964, I joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. After training, my first posting was to Zweibrucken, Germany. On September 7, 1966 I came home and got married. My wife and I rented an apartment from a German landlord. In WWII, Hans served with the German Army. He was our enemy and fighting our people. Now I was renting from him. Hans and Tekla, his wife, treated us like family. Once an enemy, now a friend. They showed kindness in every way.  I can still savor the flavor of the fresh strawberries often left near our doorway. Buckets and buckets of kindness! Cora and I both were taught to love regardless. We loved our new found friends and we were both blessed by kindness.

Glen Campbell sang: “You got to try a little kindness, Yes show a little kindness. Just shine your light for everyone to see. And if you try a little kindness, Then you’ll overlook the blindness, Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets.” Conception Bay South needs more kind people. Be one this week. Do some kindness to someone and reap the harvest. You will go away smiling and happy. I dare you. Okay, I’ll take the dare and do it as well.

Winston Dodge is a retired Salvation Army minister. This is the second installment of a three part series for the Christmas season.

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