I was out for an evening bike ride when it happened. But that’s how it is with random acts of kindness. They happen when you least expect them, when you aren’t looking – these random acts of kindness which surprise you and change the direction of your day. I guess that’s what makes them random. Otherwise they would be predictable, expected, maybe even required or demanded. But not these good deeds – unsolicited, unexpected, undeserved, unheralded and unheeded, they are more priceless than gold.
Just yesterday evening I was the beneficiary of a random act of kindness that I didn’t even know I needed. I was riding my bike in a neighborhood adjacent to mine, taking my time, smiling at walkers or anyone that I might pass as I rode. (smiling works wonders when not covered up by a mask) As I passed a house where a gentleman sat on the front porch, he suddenly called out to me, asking if my tires were a little low. I circled back and he said he could put air in them for me. (he had one of those machines that does that, whatever they are called?) Now I confess – I didn’t even realize that my tires were low. But this man could tell all the way from his front porch as I drove by, that they needed air.
It only took a minute for him to inflate both my bike tires to the proper pressure. But what a difference I felt as I pedaled away. It was like night and day! I had been totally unaware that my tires needed air and had no idea what a difference more air in my tires would make. Nevertheless, I sure enjoyed my bike ride more after my encounter with this kind stranger. He certainly didn’t have to do what he did. He could have just let me pass by. He was relaxing on his porch. He didn’t have to go to the trouble of dragging out that air machine and inflating my tires. He helped me out when I didn’t even know I had a need. But he saw it and met it, fixing the problem.
As I drove away I thought about other random acts of kindness that I see so often in my own neighborhood and in the surrounding community as I am out in it each day. It is the norm. Neighbor helping neighbor and even strangers helping other strangers. This is the real world outside my door in which I live. This is not the world I am shown when I turn on the TV news. (which is a good reason for me to pay more attention to reality than to what the news chooses to show me)
Random acts of kindness are the stepping stones that carry us through our days and our nights, allowing us to navigate our way without falling through the cracks and being swallowed up whole. True – some cracks are wider than others, but these stepping stones/acts of kindness stand in the gaps that fill our daily lives. I may never see the person again who gifted me with his random act of kindness, but hopefully his example will inspire me to do likewise to my family, friends, co-workers, and yes, even complete strangers.
I haven’t yet mentioned that this gentleman and I share different skin colors. Normally, that would not be relevant nor needed information. But today we are being told that this is all that matters – a person’s skin color. Apparently character is no longer important – even though that’s what Martin Luther King Jr. said should matter most. And of course character has nothing to do with a person’s outward appearance, which is all we see visually. If only we would adopt God’s view on this subject, which He made clear in 1 Samuel 16:7, when He said to Samuel,
“Do not consider his appearance or his height, . . . The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Yes, we were taught it is the content of one’s character not the color of one’s skin that counts. But today our children are being taught just the opposite is true. If they come to believe this lie, my neighborhood will no longer be the peaceful, loving community that I have known for twenty plus years. You see, we are a neighborhood of many skin colors, ethnicities and religions, living peacefully together as Americans enjoying the freedoms this country has provided us in the past. Rather than random acts of violence, random acts of kindness prevail in our community. Perhaps because we recognize the truth that there is but one race – the human race. There is plenty of diversity within our human race – but we share more similarities than differences.
Practicing random acts of kindness daily builds bridges between us, rather than widening the gaps created when false teaching pits us against one another. Galatians 6:10 has great advice as does Hebrews 13:16 –
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
I loved being the recipient of an unexpected, undeserved, random act of kindness – may I also remember to be the committer of many random acts of kindness as well,
sincerely, Grace Day