Helpful, Visiting in a Hospital

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, June 9, 2014

hospital drawing

hospital drawing

Helpful, Visiting in a Hospital

I received a phone call several days ago. I found out that a good friend of mine was in the hospital. I wanted to go and see my friend, but I had a bad cold. I didn’t want to sneeze and drip all over the place, so I just didn’t visit until I felt better.

When I was working as a chaplain at a hospital, I was very much aware that I needed to be in good health when seeing patients. So, I did my best to stay that way. Not only prudent, but a good idea, too!

It made me really sad to have to wait to see my friend, but I had other things I needed to accomplish over the past few days. I felt better on Saturday, and the Blessing of the Animals was scheduled for that morning. (I wrote about it, two days ago.) I had a number of other necessary things to do that afternoon and evening, and couldn’t go visit at the hospital—until today. It was wonderful to see my friend! We talked for quite some time, and we prayed together before I left. I think I was an encouragement to my friend. I certainly hope so.

Until tonight, I forgot completely about the verse I chose for the month of June – Matthew 5:16. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Wow. This kind deed I did today qualifies. I hadn’t thought about it that way before, but visiting sick people is something that would please God. And by extension, when others see my good, kind deed, they will be able to glorify my Heavenly Father (or, Parent).

There is one big caveat. If I have twisted motives or the wrong attitude, I don’t think God would want people to notice the deeds I did. For example, if I was like a Pharisee, I’d be all puffed up, showing off my self-righteous attitude. (Oversized, egotistical . . . ) You can bet God would turn His back on me in a big hurry, too. I’d be a big phony! I might be able to fool a few people for a while, but sooner or later they would figure me out. Me and my holier-than-thou, phony self.

On the other hand, if I act with some humility and graciousness, I think God would be very pleased with any good deeds I accomplished in God’s name. Then, when others see my good, kind, helpful deeds, they would certainly be able to glorify my Heavenly Father. (or, Parent)

Dear God, thanks for the opportunity to make the day brighter for my friend in the hospital. And, I pray that my attitude and actions will continue to be pleasing to You, too!


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In Which I Did Sunday-type Things

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, May 18, 2014

BK be kind - color

In Which I Did Sunday-type Things

Today is the day the Lord has made! Yes, today was, indeed! Not only did God make today, but this particular Sunday was a beautiful day, on top of everything. Gorgeous! Even more than awesome!

I did Sunday-type things today. I tried to rack my brains and think of something particular, or something special I did today, but nothing popped into my head. Yet, I know I attended church. I greeted every person in the congregation. I prayed, gave the brief children’s message, prayed some more, and co-led the morning service. I talked with most people in coffee hour this morning, and joined in the optional, brief bible study the church had, after service.

As I said, I was puzzling over and over about exactly how I was of service today. (How did I serve, anyway?) And after thinking hard for most of the afternoon, I could not come up with any specific instances. (Of course, I thought of situations where people were kind to me—like, for instance, the man from the church who stayed several feet away from everyone because he was afraid of passing along a bad spring cold. (even a not-so-bad spring cold!)

Of course, I used my smile quite a bit today. (If anyone has seen my photo, you know I have a friendly, open smile. And it just sort-of-naturally happens! That’s one thing God has indeed blessed me with.) However, I didn’t go out of my way to do something special for someone else.

When my daughter and I were driving in the car recently, she happened to comment on my daily posts on this blog. She wondered out loud how effective it was for me to look for kind things to do each day. I mean, praying for God to send intentional acts of service into my life. “How ‘intentional’ is that, anyway?” she asked. Great question, I responded! I told her that I really and truly tried to have these acts of service come from the heart. Not out of obligation! No!

I tried my darnedest! Never that. I was earnest when I said that kind of attitude was self-defeating. That attitude would also negate any positive, genuine, loving expression of kindness I showed. She wrinkled her nose and looked at me sideways. (Maybe it was the position she was in, riding in the passenger’s seat next to me, but still . . . ) I affirmed the fact that these acts of kindness and service are getting more and more natural. (Easier?? Um, sometimes. Maybe once in a while.)

I think I am starting to really get the hang of this kindness thing! At least, I hope so. I pray so. God, how am I doing with this intentional act of service thing, anyhow? If you could , I pray that you will allow me to find out. That would be great, God! Affirmation and confirmation for me, and continued acts of service for everyone else!

Thanks, God!


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Another Rainy Day—to Be Kind!


A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, May 1, 2014

zinnia seeds - illustration from Blogspot

zinnia seeds – illustration from Blogspot

Another Rainy Day—to Be Kind!

Ever have someone give you a really great idea? So fantastic, that you pounce on it right away?

Today was another rainy, chilly spring day. Not your typical May 1st, to be sure. Not warm or sunny. Not very appealing for outside work, either. Good thing I spent most of the day in my office.

I had a good deal of computer work to be done. Being a pastorly-type person, I engaged in several conversations, and prayed with two people. I also happened to talk with several people today, in the course of doing business. There is one snag, though. Most of my business happens to be of the time-lapse variety. Very little of the business I transacted today was completed today. It will come to pass, over time.

To get back to my friend’s fantastic brainwave, I was very much struck by it. Practically fell all over myself to thank my friend. Implemented it. And, guess what? This idea is also of the time-lapse variety. So—even though one of my telephone conversations was super excellent, I won’t be able to track the outcome until later. Perhaps it will turn out to be much later.

I’m reminded of the seeds my mother had me plant, in our backyard. In the house where I grew up, on the northwest side of Chicago. When I was six and seven, and even eight, the idea of planting flower seeds seemed somehow magical to me. Plant the seeds in May. Wait. Wait. And wait some more. (Something I was never very good at. At least I have improved in the waiting department a little bit.)

It would take some weeks. Aha! I’d see little, green sprouts as I went out in back to check on my seeds! Time would pass—June would arrive, and school would end. I usually would have forgotten about my seeds until one day, later in June. I’d run out in the back yard, and the zinnia seeds would have magically changed to sturdy, green plants, in rows. The bigger ones in the back, smaller plants in front. And sometimes, depending on how the weather had been for the past few weeks, I could see little buds. That was so exciting! I loved seeing the colorful petals ready to unfold from all the green.

Patience! That’s what I need. Just like with the zinnia seeds. That’s what I need in these several situations I started today, too. Especially the fantastic idea I got from my good friend. I wonder whether the acquisition of patience is one of those things that sort of creeps up on you, gradually? Like seeing those zinnia plants finally standing in the soil, a couple of inches high?

Yup. I get the feeling, it’s God’s sense of humor again. God’s pleased with me, with my efforts to be kind to others. Just now, I’ve got to wait. And wait some more. It’s the zinnia seeds all over again. And God? I think You’re smiling right now.


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Being Kind at a Library

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, April 27, 2014

library clipart illustration

library clipart illustration

Being Kind at a Library

Today was Sunday. The second Sunday of Easter. Today was also a busy day and evening for me. Since a nearby library has open hours on Sunday evenings, I decided to head there after dinnertime. I’m in the process of writing several articles for an encyclopedia, and I wanted to do some additional research. Busily (and happily), I involved myself with research until almost nine o’clock.

I could have written about several encounters I had today. But one brief encounter stuck in my mind. I packed up my laptop and came down to the library lobby, a little before nine. As I entered the vestibule with the sliding doors, I noticed two people blocking the primary exit doors—one library employee and an older library patron with a fancy walker. The older man was a bit stooped. He peered through his glasses anxiously, into the chill and the rain. He seemed to be waiting for someone or something.

This older man caught my attention. As I zipped up my coat, he turned toward me with some stiffness. I could see he had some kind of difficulty in walking or in movement. His shoulders were not quite square as he tried to face me. I smiled at him. Open, friendly. “Hello! You look like you’re waiting for someone.” I nodded with my head at the pavement—and street—outside. Relaxed and easy, I continued to smile.

The man opened right up, and engaged with me immediately. He nodded his graying, frizzy head at me, saying “Yes, I’m waiting for a cab.” He looked outside again, and frowned. The library employee excused himself, and went outside to see whether the cab happened to be waiting around the corner. (Which every once in a while, they are.)

As is the case with some people, the older man started telling me about his life. Waiting for the cab, how long it would take at times. What he was carrying with him in a bag (he showed me), and more, besides. His manner and style of communication seemed a bit awkward, probably due to his physical condition. But I could tell his mind was sharp as a tack.

Our brief interaction was pleasant, open. I could honestly say I think I made a new friend tonight. I smiled again, my bright, cheerful smile. I wished him well and a safe trip home despite the wet and the cold. As I walked to my car, I reflected on the fact that I could have asked him whether he might appreciate a ride home. But—I wasn’t sure how he might receive the offer. On top of which, I did not know what kind (kinds?) of physical difficulties he might have. I did not desire to have an unknown man of questionable health and mobility in my car. Even though he might appreciate the ride.

God, I know I could have offered him a ride. Forgive me for not offering. How sad—and awful—to be considering insurance and liability. That was why I prayed for the older man, though. I really wanted to do the kind thing, and be of service to him. I pray I was.


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