You never really know what people are going through unless you take the time to probe. To listen and befriend. Behind the carefully ironed outfits, the smiles that say, “I’m fine, thank you!”. Behind the snapshots of a family celebration on Instagram or Facebook. I think it’s safe to assume that everyone that you come in contact with is facing some kind of personal battle. Something hard. Something that is breaking them or causing a knot to form in their stomach. Big or small, there is always something. No matter how old or how young. That means any act of kindness can take on a meaning you never imagined possible.
“I’ve never felt so disconnected and alone in my entire life!” I tell him. We are sitting in our living room after a long day, our grown children with their plans. Coming and going. It’s actually kind of fun and rewarding to watch them live their lives. Spreading their wings. But at times it can feel like we’re being left behind.
Elisabeth Elliot said, “In acceptance lies peace.” Simple. I love that. I am taking it one day at a time. Praying for peace. Choosing to accept the season we are in and be the best I can be in, what seems like, the hardest season yet! I find that the older I get, especially if you are in some type of “leadership” position, people often forget that you are no different than they are — that you need encouragement just like those who are younger. Out of sight–out of mind? That is often the case.
But then someone bursts through your front door. “Here! We brought you something from Mexico! We thought of you while we were on vacation!” A small act of kindness that says you have value, we missed you, we are grateful for you, you are cherished. And you realize that the voice that has been whispering in your ear, “You are alone. You are disconnected!” is not the voice of truth. It is a feeling, but not a reality. And God has used His people to remind you. God has used the church to remind you.
Wrapped in brown paper, I take the small package from her hand. “It was made in Mexico!” she says! And I pull from the wrapping a small, handmade cup. Beautiful. (I have a weakness for coffee cups!) I love it! Not only because it is beautiful and handmade, but because it was given to me by a young woman who has allowed herself to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It reminds me that I am not alone. It reminds me that she values me–that HE values me.
I was remembered. HE has remembered.
When I woke this morning and I felt that knot in my stomach that has become my daily companion, the reality of this season of life hit me again. My first reaction was to give in to depression. “I will not allow this to grip me today!” I make my way to the kitchen for my morning cup. There it sits on the counter. The reminder: “You are valued. You are not alone.” I make an espresso and I send her a text with a picture: “Perfect for espresso!”
I am a part of the body of Christ. The Church. And no matter what season of life I am in, my purpose is to know God, to make Him known, and to show the world that I am one of His by showing His love. Bearing burdens. Blessing others even when I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. Because you never really know what people are going through. You never really know.
I think it’s safe to assume that everyone that you come in contact with is facing something hard. Something that is breaking them or causing a knot to form in their stomach. That means any act of kindness can take on a meaning you never imagined possible.