Right now I’m sitting alone on my porch listening to the birds in the trees singing away without a care in the world. I still miss my old neighborhood, the friends who were close by, and the hustle and bustle outside, but I have really come to love sitting out here listening to these chirping melodies! It’s nice to leave the phone in the house, and just sit here and listen. And think. And with all of the recent twists and turns in my life, I’ve really been thinking about so many different things lately – some that I wish I didn’t have to think of, and others that I’m curious why I’d never thought about before! But I do love to sit and think about some crazy stuff. (Just ask my sister! When I pull out the list of questions to think about, I think she wants to pretend that she’s fallen asleep).
So I left my phone inside, but then ran back in to get my laptop cuz tonight I’m thinking about all sorts of people – people who influenced me in the past, or recently, or some that even influence me every single day! I’d like to tell you about just a few of them.
Well, first of all there’s Johnny. Johnny is a homeless man who my friend April and I frequently bring a meal to, or other items he needs. There are days we don’t have anything for him. And we know that he sees us, but he keeps his head down or looks in the other direction so that we don’t feel bad. And he prays for us. He remembers our names. That’s pretty impressive.
We recently had a patient who received her very last chemotherapy treatment. On her last day she came in with a big gift basket full of items she knew would be encouraging and comforting to someone else with a cancer diagnosis. She waited until the end of her three-hour treatment, looked around, and chose which patient she thought needed encouragement the most, and then she walked over and gifted her with it. She didn’t have to do that, but she did anyways!
That patient was so touched by her kindness, that she is now planning to do the same on the day of her last treatment! She doesn’t have to do that, but she’s going to do it anyways!
There’s a pharmacist at the CVS inside of Target on Hall Road. His name is Keith. He always asks me how my grandchildren are, and how my new job is going. He doesn’t have to remember those things, but he does anyways.
There’s another patient I get to take care of once a month, and each time, she takes my hands and prays over myself and whoever is with me, thanking God for the nurses and care givers – “ministers of healing,” she calls us. She doesn’t have to do that, but she does it anyways.
My kids and I had to go downtown once for an event, and I got lost (long before GPS). I pulled over on a street that was apparently in a not-so-safe area, and a gentleman pulled up alongside me and asked if I needed help. I told him I was lost, where I needed to go, and he told me to follow him. I trusted him, and he got us where we needed to go safe and sound in a matter of minutes. He didn’t have to do that, but he did anyways.
My friend Mary sends me cards in the mail just to remind me that she prays for me. She doesn’t have to do that. Emailing or texting is so much easier, but receiving bright, colorful, encouraging handwritten cards and letters is so much more fun! She doesn’t have to do that, but she does it anyways.
A sweet couple I know has a trunk full of bags with items for homeless people. If they see someone on the streets who needs one, they jump out at a red light, grab one and drop it off really quick. They don’t have to do that, but they do it anyways.
There’s a lady named Susan who checks people into a particular building I frequent, probably more than 100 people a day, and she never forgets my name. She sees me coming down the hall towards her and hollers out, “Hi Rita! How are you today?” And I hear her remember others’ names as well! How DOES she do that? I want to be more like Susan! She doesn’t have to remember my name, but she does!
And I could tell you a dozen or more stories like these!
Everyday I come across the most unlikely influencers, who inspire me to want to do something I don’t have to do, for no particular reason, and with no expectation – even if it’s as simple as remembering someone’s name!
You just never know who (or what) you’re showing kindness to.
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2