The Language of Kindness
Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
On Sunday, I (Michael) and my wife Kathy and our son Matthew went out to lunch. As our meal was winding down, our server placed our check on the table, saying as they always do, that we could pay her whenever we were ready. A few minutes later, before we had paid, another server came to the table and picked up our check and walked away with it. She took it to a nearby table. A moment later she came back to the table with the check holder minus the actual check and said –
Your meal has been taken care of today.
Then she pointed at one of the women seated at the nearby table, indicating that she had paid our bill. We looked at the woman, who smiled shyly, and said –
We were deeply touched.
When it was time for us to leave, we stopped at this generous woman’s table to thank her once again. And then we were touched even more.
She had a paper that she gave to us. Its title read –
“26 Acts of Kindness in Honor of the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting Victims”.
And then she explained –
I want to offer 26 acts of kindness throughout this season for those who were killed in Connecticut. You are the fifth of my acts and it is in memory of Josephine Gay, who was seven years old.
We were humbled.
As I’ve shared before, this has been an incredibly challenging time for our family. During the past five months we lost our family dog, my grandmother and one of Kathy’s sisters, each of whom were beloved and cherished parts of our lives. Matthew lost significant mobility on the right side of his body and needed surgery on his spinal column to help restore it. He still is far from regaining his previous abilities and requires a whole new normal as he is fitted for braces (which he resists) and goes to therapy (which he resists) to relearn how to walk on his own and use his hand again.
A significant portion of our daily lives has changed because of Matthew’s increased disabilities. A significant part of our holiday traditions have changed because of my grandmother’s and Kathy’s sister’s losses. When we add to it the everyday barrage of bad news from around the world that is broadcast to all of us, it could be easy to see more darkness than light right now in our lives.
But it is gifts such as yesterday’s, generous gifts from a stranger in a restaurant, that remind us once again that light is always stronger than darkness, that goodness is always more powerful than evil, that there is a spark in the human heart that embraces peace and love much more than it embraces violence and hate.
I am deeply grateful to that woman in the restaurant at the nearby table. She was the embodiment of what this season means. Her acts of kindness to us, and her 25 additional acts to others, will surely be honored as our hearts are opened, as our spirits are lightened and as our lives reflect these genuine and transforming gifts that affirm goodness and grace in us.
That woman enables us to hear and see anew the wonder of light and love that all of us need in our lives every day.