Being Kind—at the Dry Cleaners

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, October 18, 2014

BK-Be-Kind-To-One-Another - Eph 4-32

Being Kind—at the Dry Cleaners

It being Saturday morning today, my husband and I did Saturday morning-type things. Including sorting through clothing, deciding which to take to the dry cleaners today. He took his five work shirts, and I added my raincoat. I ought to add a parenthetical comment. I received this black raincoat from my sister Sue. She is a high-level salesperson in the New York City area, and she has to look sharp and dress professionally at all times for her job. She wore this coat for a number of months, but then she bought another one. Was I glad to get this gently-used item! Lovely, durable, classy-looking raincoat. Just the thing for a ministry professional.

My husband Kevin dropped me off at the YMCA (yoga class today!). He went on to the cleaners. He has started going to a different cleaners lately. It’s located in a newer building in a small strip mall, and the husband and wife who own the business keep the premises very clean. Kevin parked, gathered up the clothes, and went for the door with arms full. Another man reached the door at the same time, but his arms were empty. He kindly held the door open for my husband. Kevin reached the long counter several seconds before the other man, and Kevin laid the clothes down near the cash register.

The Korean woman behind the counter seemed to be a bit flustered. She looked from one customer to the other. My husband noticed, and asked her about it. She gestured to the other man, and seemed very apologetic. “He’s just coming to pick up.” The other man nodded. “Go right ahead,” Kevin said. The woman ran and grabbed some clothes on hangers for the customer, and the man left.

Now it was Kevin’s turn. The proprietor of the cleaners checked in the clothes my husband brought. He paid for them with two ten dollar bills. That really pleased the woman. “We need ten dollar bills. Thank you, thank you.” My husband had two more in his wallet, and asked whether she could use them. She was so excited! “Yes, thank you so much!” She gave him a twenty in exchange, and then looked at him with a serious face. “You are a very kind man. You were patient, and let the other customer go first. Then, you gave me extra ten dollars. You are very kind!”

This embarrassed my husband. He’s a journalist, and a senior editor. A no-nonsense sort of a guy, he doesn’t particularly see himself as “a very kind man.” (He freely admits that’s more his wife’s department.) However, he thanked the proprietor with sincerity. And then, related this account to me.

After hearing what had happened, I told Kevin that he had been very kind. This made him wonder. He does not particularly go out of his way to be kind and helpful. However—he reflected whether he might be able to act his way into kind, helpful thinking. I told him that a number of months of doing kind, helpful acts of service every day was certainly affecting my habitual way of thinking. He nodded, seriously considering what I had said.

God willing, we might all act our way into kind, helpful thinking.

@chaplaineliza

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Of Kindness and Computers, and Then Some!

A Year of Being Kind blog –Thursday, June 12, 2014

BK language deaf hear, blind see

Of Kindness and Computers, and Then Some!

What happens when you spend almost all day looking at a computer screen?

Well, not quite all day. I did do a little shopping for food. And I talked with a woman and her daughter at the store. We commiserated over the high prices. (And this was at a discount store!)

The woman and I exchanged a few comments over our carts, it’s true. But as we talked, I felt her open up. She took a step closer, and became more animated. I could tell she and I connected, even though it was only a brief conversation. And our talk was a genuine expression of emotion, of connection.

I am becoming more and more aware that I need to be a good example. As a pastor of a church, as a leader of that congregation, people are eager to connect. People are watching, too. I am so glad that this woman and I were able to connect, since that is something a pastor very much needs in their life. In their “tool bag” of character traits.

The computer work I did today was important! (Spending hours sweating and slaving over a hot monitor! *grin*) I had to write several reports for a meeting tomorrow. In addition, I got a decent start on Sunday’s sermon.

I’m glad I am disciplining myself to write with more fluidity (if not finesse). Since I need to write a fair amount each week, I want to make certain that what comes out of my fingertips is pretty good. I judge others on their poor presentation skills and grammatical mistakes. I would be so embarrassed if it were me. I probably might want to crawl into a deep hole and not come out. Until, say, at least the Black Hawks take to the ice again.

Just as several of my friends and acquaintances find themselves doing a good deal of computer work, I needed to get things done before I left the office today. And, in writing several different documents, I served as an advocate. I also acted as an investigative reporter, looking into the inside scoop!

God, thanks for the ease in preparation of these written tasks, reports, and help me to continue to be on the look-out for opportunities to be kind, to be of service.

@chaplaineliza

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