The American clergyman, Edward Everett Hale, said, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” The concept of just doing “something” to help others is inspiring.
As humans, we often think of something we could do for someone else but rationalize not doing anything. We might think, “Someone else will take care of it,” or “I don’t want to appear to be foolish, or presumptive, or self-righteous,” or “They brought this calamity on themselves,” or, or, or…
My wife, Sue, and I know how simple acts of kindness can profoundly impact one’s life. The following are examples of what others have done for us that might serve as food for thought.
Guidance – In my early teens, I was making a smart aleck remark at a Boy Scout meeting. Byron privately told me that I was “better than that,” and encouraged me to change my attitude. I am a better man because of it.
Helping – When we were just starting out as a young married couple, we only had one car and three children. Many kind friends helped us by taking the family to meetings when I was on assignment elsewhere. That service strengthened our determination to help others whenever we can.
Random encouragement – Several times when we took our nine children out to eat, random people would complement us on the behavior of our kids. Raising children to be good adults is made easier when others are supportive.
Simple gestures – Kris came to visit Sue on her birthday when we were new in the area and brought her a bouquet of flowers from Kris’ yard, placed in a Mason jar. It brightened Sue’s day and created a lasting memory.
Advice – As we tried to find a cardiologist to care for my deteriorating heart condition, Bruce, a doctor, helped us find the best possible care. It allowed me to feel better and have confidence in the future.
Listening – I was in the hospital being treated for heart failure symptoms and Sue was left at home to care for our children. Alana was there to lend a listening ear. It was just what Sue needed at that time.
Comfort – When I was waiting for a heart transplant, Katy would always check on Sue to make sure that she was OK and give her encouragement. It helped her when I was not able to help.
Making life sweeter – When Sue was out of town, Randy and Becca made it a point to invite me over to their house for dinner. Kind acts always create better friendships.
Job assistance – Dennis helped me find and get jobs, on two different occasions. The income from those jobs was essential for our family.
Physical labor – When I lost my job, we had to move to a rental house. Ron brought over a moving van and helped us move our large family. The manual labor was much needed but the kindness was even sweeter.
Charity – Terry and Karen heard that I had lost a job and was having a difficult time finding another. One night, they came to our house with several bags of food for our family. They did the good that they felt they should.
Compliments – Both of my younger brothers have said, “You’re my hero.” Kind words strengthen bonds of love.
Letters – When we moved from the home where we raised our children, Brian took the time to mail me a letter telling me how much he appreciated our friendship. That letter is a wonderful keepsake and his friendship is priceless.
Neighborliness – Our neighbor, Fred, is well past retirement age but he insists on mowing our lawn because he is already mowing his. He shows his Christianity in his actions.
If we all did something meaningful for another every day, the impact would be like a tidal wave of goodness washing over a world of selfishness. You never know how much good your simple act of kindness will do, but be assured; a pebble of kindness always creates a ripple.