Unexpected? Kindness to a Stranger

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, December 23, 2014

praying for things you take for granted

Unexpected? Kindness to a Stranger

I spent the whole day at work, cleaning up from last night’s service. Getting ready for tomorrow night. Read to the preschool children, and talked with a few others. Someone came to the door. Talked and prayed with that person, had some more interaction. Answered some email, wrote a few letters, and generally had a productive day. Good day. Worthwhile day.

I had a few errands to run on the way home. Stopped at a grocery store, a drug store, a friend’s apartment, and then—finally! I ran by a fast food place to pick up some things for dinner for my family. Got a couple of tacos apiece, and left.

As I walked to my car, I happened to pass a woman. She was dressed in a worn winter coat. Knit hat on her head. I looked at her. Met her eyes, with my friendly smile. I could see, from the way her face changed slightly, that she had some hope. She asked me for some change. One problem: I do not often give people on the street any money. But tonight?

“I don’t have any change. But are you interested in something to eat?” The middle-aged woman quickly nodded. “Do you like tacos?” Again, the agreement. Positive response. I beckoned to her. She walked with me the few dozen feet to the door of the taco place. I found out that she didn’t have any place to live. “I ride the train at night.” She meant the elevated train. A difficult thing to do, riding the train. Especially when it gets really cold, which it will in the Chicago area starting tomorrow night. She agreed.

The woman ordered two tacos. As we stood at the counter, I gave her the rest of the five dollars (which was all I had left). Plus, my brother had sent me a coffee card in his Christmas card a few days ago. I still had the gift card, with about four dollars on it. I gave it to the woman, too.

The young woman behind the counter watched all of this with eyes wide open. (She couldn’t have been much more than twenty-one or twenty-two.) She knew I had ordered some food a few minutes before, and left. And then, I returned with the middle-aged woman. As the counter person looked back and forth, her expression took on wonder. Surprise. “That is nice. Really, that is.” After a moment or two, again, she said, “That is so nice.”

As the two of us left, I asked whether the woman had someplace to go on Christmas. She said she hoped she might. Maybe, find someone she knew who would allow her to stay inside for a night or two. I smiled at her, sadly. “I hope you can find just such a person. God bless you.” She thanked me for what I had done, what I had given her. And, I said I would remember her in prayer.

So, please—could you remember this dear woman? Send kind thoughts her way. Pray God’s comfort, encouragement and mercy upon her. God knows who she is. God bless her. Truly.

@chaplaineliza

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Trying to Be Kind to a Bird

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, October 29, 2014

sun reflected on water

Trying to Be Kind to a Bird

I am sad to say this does not end well. If you are at all soft-hearted, perhaps you don’t wish to read any further. Be warned. I am still very sad.

At about quarter to eleven, I went into the church for the midweek bible study. The church has two entrances: one near the classrooms, and the other near the sanctuary and church office. I usually enter near the church office. For some reason, I went into the other one—the one by the classrooms, and circled around past the preschool classrooms to the office.

I started the bible study a little before eleven. We had a good study—another one in the series on the names and titles of Jesus in the Gospels. A little after twelve, the bible study finished. Everyone started to leave. I went into the church office with several others, and a church member noticed that there was a bird outside, huddled on the sidewalk in front of the sanctuary-side glass doors. I came to look, too.

“Oh, my. It probably crashed into the glass doors.”

I was concerned. It looked like a sparrow. I bent down to look at it, being careful not to touch it. The weather was gusty and cool, and the sparrow was all huddled and fluffed up. I went to my laptop and quickly looked up bird sanctuaries in Chicago. That led me to Chicago bird collision monitors. I called the volunteer hotline.

“Hello. I’d like to report a bird that I think collided with the glass doors at my work.” The wonderful, kind volunteer told me where to bring the injured bird, and also said that it was quite possibly a migratory sparrow, coming through the area. I said I would bring the bird to the wildlife center. Accordingly, I followed her directions, washing my hands and getting a paper bag. By the time I returned to the doors by the sanctuary to collect the huddled bird, I was shocked to see a change. The bird was not fluffed up any longer. As I gently scooped it up into the bag, I noticed it was no longer breathing.

This was heartbreaking for me. If only. If only the weather were not cold and gusty. If only I had seen the hurt bird earlier. If only. If only.

With a heavy heart, I called the hotline again, and spoke with the same kindly woman. I told her what had happened. She thanked me for being concerned for the poor bird. And we hung up.

I know birds do collide with glass windows and doors during the yearly migration. I’ve read articles about it, but actually seeing a bird that collided with a door—that is truly heartbreaking. I know God knows about the flowers in the fields, and the leaves that fall from the trees. As Matthew 6 tells me, God knows about each sparrow that falls. Dear God, seeing the aftermath of this sparrow’s fall makes me heavyhearted. I know it’s a small thing, in the grand scheme of things, but I do feel badly for this poor bird. I tried to be kind, I really did. I hope this bird had some joy in its life, and I pray that it brought joy into the lives of others.

@chaplaineliza

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Be Kind? Through Social Media!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, July 3, 2014

LOVE loving others, caring for their happiness

Be Kind? Through Social Media!

The wonders of modern technology! What will they think of next? Yes, I do use social media. I would call myself an advanced beginner, in terms of know-how. Plus, I only use a few platforms of social media. (I don’t want things to get too complicated. On top of everything else, I don’t want to dive in too far over my head, either.)

A few weeks ago, I had my first introduction to Skype! I talked with Rich, a missionary in Latin America. He gave me some in-depth information about IncaLink. Regular readers might remember that, since I had several different ministries of IncaLink on consecutive Fridays. As my Feature Friday feature! Not only was IncaLink’s work in several Latin American countries really innovative, but I was so excited that Rich and I could talk so easily. (!!!!) I’m in my fifties, old enough to remember what a challenge it was to communicate with missionaries. Only three decades ago, it was often difficult hearing regularly from missionaries when they were stationed some distance from even a mid-sized town. In places like Peru, Mexico, India, Kenya, Ethiopia, or Lebanon—just for a few examples.

I do have a Tumblr account, and I post from time to time. Two, maybe three times a week. Tumblr is the place I put all kinds of lovely photos, darling animal shots, breathtaking landscapes, and biblical verses with images. Plus, I also add my links to my blog from wordpress.com. (You know what that is—you’re reading one of my wordpress posts right now! *grin* )

Then, of course, I am an old hand at Facebook. I know my way around the FB world pretty well. I am acquainted with several professors, who often have lively back-and-forth on their Facebook pages. I got involved in several in-depth discussions on Facebook today, and I hope I was encouraging. One post, as I remember, was meant to be helpful. (Another one was snarky, too. But that’s me, sometimes, too.)

How simple it is to be encouraging! How easy to be kind and helpful, as well. I don’t have any idea who might read my posts, or my responses to two blogs. But my thoughts and ideas have gone forth, into the wide world. Of course, they might not be that much of a much. (I don’t want to flatter myself too much, now.) But—God may use some words I have written to be exactly the encouragement someone needs, today. Or perhaps, tomorrow. Even my snarky post might be just the admonishment God means for someone to read. Who can tell? Only God knows how far my words might travel.

May the words that flow from my keyboard be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

@chaplaineliza

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