Being Kind? Not Spouting Off . . .

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, August 19, 2014

restaurant drawing Navaredo (1)

Being Kind? Not Spouting Off . . .

I will drink most kinds of coffee. It does need to be decaffeinated, but other than that, pretty much any kind of coffee will do. Ask my youngest daughter, who is getting ready to go away to college this week. She’ll tell you I drink good coffee, mediocre coffee, even wretched coffee, if necessary.

My daughter and I went to a big box store today to get her some last things. Before move-in day on Friday. About a block away, we saw a chain restaurant. My daughter mentioned (wistfully) that she hadn’t been to that particular restaurant for a number of years. Thinking suddenly, she amended that, since she and her friends had been there for a festive occasion about two years ago. We both laughed. I asked her whether she would like to eat there this afternoon. Special, festive occasion, and all. After all, it isn’t every day that one’s youngest daughter prepares to go off to college.

We went in, sat down, and checked out the menus. I noticed the service was slow. Even after the waitress came to take our order, she disappeared in the back for quite a while. I ordered decaf coffee. (As my daughter will verify, I do this all the time, and just about every restaurant.) When she finally brought the coffee, it was cool. She disappeared before I could mention the tepid coffee to her. I really don’t mind tepid coffee, but I needed to add a good deal of milk to it. (It has to be the proper color, after all! A nice, lighter mocha. Or café au lait, if you like.) Five little cream containers were on the side of the cup. I put them all in. All of them. And the color of the coffee hardly changed, at all.

That was strong coffee, believe me. Strong, and really rotten tasting. I kid you not. I will drink most kinds of poor and even wretched coffee, but this coffee, today? I do believe this was the worst coffee I have ever drunk in my whole life. And, that’s saying something.

I didn’t see the waitress again for some time, except far away across the room. She delivered some plates to another table, a good distance away. Since my oldest daughter is the general manager of a superb breakfast/brunch restaurant in Chicago, I have some elementary idea of how restaurants operate.

And this one? This restaurant my daughter and I were sitting in this afternoon? The service rated a 3 out of 10. My coffee was a 1 out of 10 (and I thought that was generous, even charitable). The only saving grace was the food. Absolutely marvelous. Really and truly.

My daughter mentioned my showing disapproval in the tip. Or, lack of tip. I said it might not be the waitress’s fault. (Of course, as time passed, I do tend to think her lackadaisical attitude might have affected her service. But the coffee? To complain about that, I asked for the manager. And even then? I expressed myself in a courteous manner.

In retrospect, I think I was courteous when dealing with the restaurant staff today. I wonder how I might have acted and spoken if the situation had been different? If I had been in a bad mood, or had a headache, or any one of a number of other things? I can thank God that I was able to be kind. (Thanks, God!)

@chaplaineliza

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Kindness to a Senior

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, August 11, 2014

micah 6-8 framed

Kindness to a Senior

I don’t often go into department stores. It’s not that I don’t like shopping. (I do!) But, I try to find what I need and can use at resale shops (first) and outlets (second). And, I am sincerely trying to reduce what our family purchases. We live in a small condominium, and it’s filled with stuff as it is. We do not need more stuff. (My husband heartily agrees.)

As I posted yesterday, my daughter and I went to a mall we do not ordinarily go to. We also went to a bona fide department store to purchase some things to take to college. As we came down the escalator from the second floor to the first, I saw a frail-looking senior sitting in a small, fold-up wheelchair. She was about twelve feet from the bottom of the escalator, near the corner of the jewelry counter.

I am still thinking about her, today. My conversation with her stuck in my mind, and I keep playing our brief interaction over and over. So, I thought I would blog about it today.

My daughter and I rode down the escalator, my daughter about two or three escalator steps ahead of me. I saw the senior from a distance, as I descended. She caught my eye. Sitting still, waiting patiently, while everyone else in my eyesight seemed to be busy—moving, doing, going, bustling around. I initially approached her because her thin knit shawl was all bunched up, lying in the crooks of her elbows. The position of the shawl looked uncomfortable. Plus, there was no one accompanying her. At least, not anywhere nearby.

I slowed my steps as I stepped off the escalator and turned her way. Yes, an aged senior, for sure. But one who was quick on the uptake. “Good afternoon, “ I said, stooping slightly. (That way, I could look at her face more directly, instead of towering over her.) “I saw your shawl. Are you comfortable with it where it is, right now? Or could I help you rearrange it?”

“Oh, aren’t you sweet. No, my shawl is fine where it is.” We exchanged smiles. She panned the area, as best she could. Her head was pitched slightly forward, and even in the wheelchair, her shoulders were stooped. “Are you looking for someone?” I asked. She transferred her gaze to me, trying to look up, in my face. “I don’t see my family. They’ve gone, I suppose.” She sounded a bit wistful, but still patiently waiting. “Oh.” I smiled again. My daughter was fast disappearing, down the aisle of the store. I quickly sent a glance at her, and then looked back at the senior.

“Bye,” the elderly woman said. She raised her hand, and almost smiled at me. I gave her one of my bright, friendly smiles in return, and wished her well. I hurried, and caught up with my daughter, who rolled her eyes at me for stopping to talk with the elderly woman in the wheelchair.

As I continue to reflect on this brief meeting, I can’t help but think of Micah 6:8, my verse for the month of August. The questions that come to my mind are: how can I live justly? To whom do I show mercy? How may I walk lovingly with my God? God willing, my interaction with this dear senior provided an example of how to fulfill this verse. Please God, help me live in this just, merciful, loving way.

@chaplaineliza

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Kindness to a Daughter (and Granddaughter)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, August 10, 2014

birdhouse and flowers

Kindness to a Daughter (and Granddaughter)

My youngest daughter is leaving home, for college. Soon. This afternoon, we went for a drive, and ended up at a mall. I bought my daughter some needed clothes. We did a little windowshopping, too.

The wonderful thing about our drive (on such a beautiful day, too!) was that it was unhurried. We took our time, and had no time constraints placed on us. A wonderful feeling, too! We went into Chicago and drove through some areas that I had not visited for some time. We saw some really attractive areas of Chicago, and I went a little out of my way to show my daughter some special houses, and houses from the turn of the 20th century, too. (Fascinating!)

I took the opportunity to relate some vignettes about my mother—dead these past twelve years. My mom was an amazing lady, and her wide and varied interests included art, architecture, real estate, history, and political science. (She had a bachelor’s degree in political science, earned in the 1940’s.)

Traveling down those very familiar—yet not-recently-traveled—city streets sparked some bittersweet memories. My daughter and I continued to talk about her grandma, mentioned some things she used to do and places she liked to frequent. As I went further into Chicago, we also talked about her great-aunt, my mom’s sister. She died a few years ago, over ninety years old. Another dear lady.

My mother loved being a grandma. She loved all her grandchildren dearly. She would have been so excited to see her first grandchild (my niece) get married. Just two weekends ago, that happened in Washington state. I was unable to attend, but Grandma would have loved it. And, it’s another of the grandchildren entering another stage of life.

This is my third daughter going off to school. Yes, it’s bittersweet to have another child leave home. Yet, I am so pleased another of my children is doing so well. She is growing up to be a curious, competent, capable, and interesting young lady.

So, yes. I acted as a mom. I did more mom-things today, by buying my daughter several items for the fall semester. (My daughter really appreciated the clothes, and told me so.) I realize it’s kind-of my job, as a parent, getting my daughter outfitted for college. But, it wasn’t a chore. My daughter and I had a very enjoyable afternoon. It was fun. A good time. And yes, a bittersweet time.

I wish my mother had had the opportunity to see her grandchildren continue to grow, and learn. But I know my children were glad for all the time they did have with their Grandma. My mom was regularly kind and helpful to her grandchildren. And me? I was kind to my daughter today. Thanks, God, for a wonderful afternoon.

@chaplaineliza

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