Compassionate Kindness

Today, I am grateful for something I refer to as “compassionate kindness.” Allow me to explain.

Picture it: I’m driving around and the pressure in one of my tires is perilously low. I call the person who services my car, and he advises me to head to the nearest gas station, have the tire filled with air, and then plan to come in the next day to get my car serviced.

I respond, “I do not know how to put air in my tires.” (I’m not going to lie – I know how to do many things, but putting air in my tires isn’t one of them) Still, I recognize that this is not his problem – I need to figure out how to get air in my leaky tire, and quickly.

So, I head to the gas station. I needed gas anyway, so I asked the attendant, “Would you be willing to help me put air in my tires?” He smiled, and nodded in the affirmative. I was grateful!

Truly, God is in the small things. As it turns out, the air pressure in all four of my tires was low! He filled all of the tires with air, and explained to me how to do it (I still am not super comfortable with the air pressure machine, but I appreciate that he took the time to show me how to operate it).

When all four tires were filled with air, I asked the man if I owed him anything for his time – mind you, he had other customers he also was helping. He shook his head, and said, “No.”

Emboldened, I said, “Thank you so very much!” Then I paused and asked, “May I give you a hug, then?”

He smiled, and then nodded. I gave the man – a complete stranger, no less – a full-on hug. He seemed touched. I know that i was! Had God not sent that man to me, I’d still be driving around on four tires that were nearly completely out of air.

So fast-forward a bit. Later in the evening, I headed to the grocery store to get a few items. As is my custom, I asked the cashier, “How is your day going?”

He responded with a sigh. “It’s been okay. There have been some emotional ups and downs.”

I recognize that most people would not have engaged in this conversation – or even have asked the question with much sincerity – but I was moved in my spirit by his words. So I responded, “What’s going on?”

As he continued to ring up my groceries, the cashier went on to explain what was happening in his life – I won’t share the details of it here. It wasn’t that he was going through anything big or traumatic, but he struck me as being incredibly thoughtful and reflective, and simply needed someone to listen to him in that moment.

I decided that I could do that, so I did. I gave him my full attention and listened appreciatively, and at the end of our brief conversation, I genuinely believe that he had worked through whatever issue he needed to resolve. I wished him a good evening (thanking him by name, since his name tag was on), and went about my day.

This is compassionate kindness. In the span of four hours, I both received it, and had the honor to pass it on to someone else.

As hard as life can be, we can always be grateful for those who have shown kindness and compassion to us, as well as for the privilege of expressing Christ’s love to others through remarkably ordinary ways.

Here is my prayer for today: Dear Lord, thank You for allowing the kind gas station attendant to help me fill my tires with air today! I appreciate Your watching out for me, and for keeping me safe. Thank You also for the opportunity to show kindness and compassion to the man at the grocery store tonight; while I do not get the impression that he knows you personally, I do sense that he is searching. Please stir in him a desire to know You in a meaningful way! And may he remember our conversation from this evening, and wonder why a woman who didn’t know him – and likely will never see him again – took the time to listen to his story, smile, and wish him well. Perhaps, in the same way that You sent the gas station attendant to help me, You sent me to the store to touch this man’s heart in a small way with Your compassionate kindness, too. Thank You for allowing me to both receive and share the gifts of kindness and compassion today. In Your name I pray, Amen.

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