All of us go through hard things. We all have trials and tribulations. We all weather storms. Sometimes those storms are colossal hurricanes or a powerful earthquake that shatters your world, and sometime they are just small rain showers. No matter the severity, we all face them at different times in our lives. That cashier at the grocery store may have just found out her mom has cancer. The boy crossing the street alone may have recently lost his dog. The mom with the crying baby in the restaurant may have a deployed husband who she hasn’t spoken to in months. The man sitting alone in the park may have lost his job. The teen in line in front of you may have failed an important test. The woman in the car next to you at the light with tears slowly rolling down her face may have just gotten terrible news. The girl who seems to have it all together all the time could be crumbling inside. The point is that you may never know what someone is going through. Every single person you encounter in a day has his or her own baggage just like you have your own.
Many people are good at hiding what is going on inside. They put on a brave face and carry on with life while their heart is being ripped open from the inside out. I know women who suffer in silence because they can’t get pregnant or sustain a pregnancy and no one else knows what they have gone through. I’ve heard stories of so many young children who commit suicide and no one, including their parents, knew they were struggling. I know of men who have served our country that are struggling to figure out who they are now that they have seen such horrible things. We come across these people all the time without knowing. They could even smile at us, and we don’t see the pain in their eyes. Some could be our own friends or family. Some are strangers. Of course we don’t go looking for these people, and they don’t seek us out. Maybe we should.
I urge you to choose kindness. Choose to smile at strangers you pass. Say a kind word to someone you encounter. A simple please and thank you goes a long way. Give a compliment to someone new. Do small acts of kindness. Lend your shoulder to someone to cry on. Ask how someone is doing and really mean it. Let that person know that you want an answer other than “fine” because you truly care about their wellbeing. Take the high road. Your kindness could be the thing that puts a real smile on someone’s face or fills a void in his or her heart. Your kind words could mean the difference in someone choosing to take their own life. Your smile could turn someone else’s day around completely. Your shoulder could bring healing.
What do you have to loose by being kind? Yes, it may take time away from your day, but there is so much you could get from it. Maybe it saves someone’s life. Maybe it will save your own. Maybe it is the one thing that will heal your own broken heart. Maybe it is what you were called to do. Maybe it is God’s purpose for your life. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain just by choosing kindness. Choosing to live a life of joy by spreading kindness IS what we are called to do. It IS the right choice. Kindness matters.