Recently, I gave myself my birthday present, 6 days at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, CO. My intention during this mostly silent time was to explore kindness. I looked for ways to deepen it within me and to bring more of it to the world.
This short story got me thinking:
Come with me to a third grade classroom….
There is a nine-year-old kid sitting at his desk and all of a sudden there is a puddle between his feet and the front of his pants are wet. He thinks his heart is going to stop because he cannot possibly imagine how this has happened. It’s never happened before, and he knows that when the boys find out he will never hear the end of it. When the girls find out, they’ll never speak to him again as long as he lives.
The boy believes his heart is going to stop, he puts his head down and prays this prayer, “Dear God, this is an emergency! I need help now! Five minutes from now I’m dead meat.”
He looks up from his prayer and here comes the teacher with a look in her eyes that says he has been discovered.
As the teacher is walking toward him, a classmate named Susie is carrying a goldfish bowl that is filled with water. Susie trips in front of the teacher and inexplicably dumps the bowl of water in the boy’s lap.
The boy pretends to be angry, but all the while is saying to himself, “Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord!”
Now all of a sudden, instead of being the object of ridicule, the boy is the beneficiary of kindness.
The teacher rushes him downstairs and gives him gym shorts to put on while his pants dry out.
All the other children are on their hands and knees cleaning up around his desk.
This kindness is a wonderful gift.
Later that day, as they are waiting for the bus, the boy walks over to Susie and whispers, “You did that on purpose, didn’t you?”
Susie whispers back, “I wet my pants once too.”
May God help us see the opportunities that are always around us to be kind to others.
Remember, going to a church, synagogue, or mosque doesn’t make you holy any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.
I invite each of you to perform an act of kindness toward another today.
Will you, please?