“I can’t believe that worked,” I thought to myself after my neighbor stopped by with dinner. Let me explain. Last Tuesday I wasn’t feeling well and had no intentions of making dinner (which, even on a good day, isn’t all that uncommon). So, as a joke, I posted this comment on Facebook: “I am currently accepting all offers of dinner brought to my doorstep. (No peas or pickles, please.)” And yes, I did include the part about the peas and pickles because, even though I didn’t expect anyone to take me seriously, I just couldn’t risk having someone show up with something like a chicken pot pie full of peas. But again, my post was very much in jest – as are many of my Facebook posts. Let’s just say that most of my Facebook friends are acutely aware of my distaste for cooking.
And then, the most incredible thing happened.
At 6:12 PM Tuesday night my neighbor, Jessie, posted a reply: “Have you had dinner!?! I have some yummy food right out of the oven . . . and there is plenty! Can be to you in 5 minutes!!!” I replied to her comment with the assurance that I really was kidding but, then again, I wouldn’t refuse her food. That would be rude! Besides, by that time I was starting to get hungry and still had no plan for what to eat. Nothing that was currently in my house sounded remotely inviting. Jessie, true to her word, showed up a few minutes later with a plateful of delicious food! All I can say is, “Wow!”
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well, they’re neighbors. They’ve probably been doing nice things for each other for years.” But, the only thing you’d be right about is that we’re neighbors. She lives around the corner. We barely know each other. We were actually Facebook friends before we ever met in person (which was just ONE other time before Tuesday night.) We actually “met” because of another neighbor – our sweet 91-year-old friend Lil, whom we both adore. And, we both love Jesus. That is our main connection. Needless to say, I was blown away by her kindness.
The next day several friends asked me, “Did your neighbor REALLY bring dinner to you last night?” “Yes,” I responded, “I can’t believe it, either.” A kindness like that doesn’t go unnoticed.
It’s a good reminder of two important things:
- Despite all that is wrong in the world there are still plenty of good people ready and willing to make a difference in someone’s day.
- You and I can be that person for someone else. It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day.
In December I participated in a friend’s challenge called Advent Act of Kindness. Each day we were to do a random act of kindness, be it donating to a worthy cause, buying coffee for someone, or just doing something nice. I did so quietly primarily because I was afraid I’d miss a day or two . . . or ten.
I really didn’t want to attract attention to myself; I just wanted to see if I could do it. I did in fact miss a few days but something interesting happened in the midst of that time. On some of the days I had an idea of what I planned to do, but 25 days is a lot to plan for, especially during the Christmas season. So, on the days when I hadn’t a clue what to do I’d ask God to show me what random act of kindness I could do that day. And, He did.
One day, it was as simple as noticing the woman in the adjoining stall of the church bathroom was crying and taking the time to see if she was okay. (We are now friends.) Another day I saw a Facebook post from a friend who had two sick kids. I was making Sloppy Joes anyway; why not make a double batch? Easy stuff.
It’s not life changing stuff, just a little bit of shared love.
My point is not to toot my own horn but simply to let you know that what seems like a small kindness to you can make a huge difference in someone’s day. I know Jessie’s kindness made a difference in my day and will be remembered for years to come.
What can you do to add joy to someone’s life today? Don’t know? Ask God. He’s full of great ideas.