The thing about kindness is it becomes easier to practice regularly when you put yourself in the shoes of another. It becomes easier when you know more, when you consider the reasons that might contribute to another’s behaviour.
In the early days of the pandemic, I read some tweets and social media comments irate about people wandering aimlessly through the grocery store, instead of efficiently gathering what they needed. And I agreed with the irritation of the people commenting.
That is, until I found myself wandering back and forth through the grocery store because I was so anxious about being there and about trying to adhere to physical distancing, that I seriously could not think my way through what I needed and how to be efficient getting it.
Back in early March, before we were officially in a state of emergency in my area, I was at a grocery store, in a long lineup having some very critical thoughts about the woman in front of me who seemed to be buying half the store’s inventory.
I cringe when I think about how I judged her, because I didn’t know her story or why she was buying so much. Since then, I’ve had a friend buying for a number of different households when she had to be at Costco to pick up prescriptions needed by her immediate family. Since she has to be there anyway, she messages friends and family before she goes, and offers to pick up whatever they might need. In this way, she both limits the number of people that have to go to that store, and limits the exposure of the people (some with serious risk factors) for whom she shops.
She’s done shopping for me when I was having trouble being able to get certain foods, or when I could not get a reasonable time to do a curbside pre-order. And I’ve been so grateful, I honestly don’t have words to express it.
These are just two instances in which I feel that God has taught me something in the midst of this pandemic, which made it easier to be kind in my judgment of others.
You may have seen this:
None of us know what someone else’s boat looks like. To paraphrase one of my friends: some people are weathering this storm in nothing but a leaky dinghy.
So let’s work at being kind. Let’s work at not making assumptions about someone else’s situation or motivations.
Until tomorrow, dear friends, know that God is kind to you, and God is delighted when you are kind to others.