“You’re day will go in the direction of your smile”. How intuitive! Smiling is a simple act of kindness, costing nothing, yet possibly changing someone’s day. It’s a choice, each morning whether to respond to the world around you in a positive or negative manner.
This doesn’t mean we always make the right choice or will be in the right ‘mood’ every single day. Hopefully on those days, when our smile turns downward into a frown, we cross paths with someone who shows kindness, changing the outcome of our day.
Showing kindness to those we like is easy but what about those we don’t necessarily always get along with? Let’s be honest, everyone isn’t going to like one another. Personalities are going to clash, differences of opinions will cause frustration, arguments will explode and we are going to have bad days.
Personally my decision to be a Christian comes with a standard of expectation to demonstrate the love of Christ, not only through spoken works but by actions. Sharing simple acts of kindness and love can be imparted by anyone who chooses to do so; choosing to be a Christian is my own personal reminder, keeping me focused on my own personal goals. This does not mean I never get angry, say things or act in ways I shouldn’t; thank goodness because I’d fail for not always have the best of attitude on those ‘oh so lovely’ bad days.
The best anyone can do is to try and do better than the day before.
It’s often a misconception Christians are to ‘like’ everyone. This isn’t easy or realistic for even the best of people. We are instructed as Christians to do our best to be kind, apologize and seek forgiveness when necessary. All anyone can do is commit to do their best to control how they respond during the good days and the bad days, to the people they like and those more difficult to be around.
While pondering the people in my life who’d been examples, mentoring and guiding me by example, exhibiting simple acts of kindness, those who’d made a difference in how I viewed life wasn’t difficult, there were many who came to mind.
On this day though, one particular person stood out in my mind. My husband’s grandmother, also my grandmother in every sense of the word, other than biological, Ruth Allen, a.k.a. Nan or Nanny, 87 years young. Demonstrating Christlike love through simple acts of kindness will be her legacy, already is her legacy shared with so many during the course of her life.
Nan has mentored me through struggles, shared in joyful times and encouraged my Christian journey by answering my questions, guiding me to scripture and patiently explaining the ‘whys’ when I stubbornly wanted to view things differently. Although she’s encouraged and advised me through spoken words, her actions have represented the type of woman I hope to be known and remembered as one day.
The love and kindness she’s demonstrated toward me, welcoming me into her family fold, always thinking of others, loving and teaching our children, her great-grandchildren, has only solidified her spoken words, the beliefs of her heart and soul, which is reflective of the woman and Christian she’s chosen to be in life.
Those who know Nan probably don’t remember the possessions she’s owned, clothes worn or car driven. Nan is known for demonstrating love for her family, friends, church families and mere strangers. I’ve watched her brighten someone’s day with a smile, listened as she has shared precious stories from throughout her life and was blessed by the moments she shared about volunteering at the nursing home during her younger years. The patients there may have thought she brightened their days but I’m confident they also brightened hers.
She’s a prayer warrior. I doubt her family or friends have any idea of the number of people she’s prayed for; she isn’t one to boast about her prayers, answered or unanswered, but rest assured if you asked her to pray for you, or someone else, it would faithfully be done. Her love is shown through her actions, faithfulness, always believing the Love of God, Agape Love, is more powerful than any words ever spoken; simple acts of kindness.
Galatians 5:22-23 in the Bible instructs Christians to live by the Fruits of the Spirit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.
Nan has lived and lives by the fruit of the spirit, planting many seeds in the lives of those who have been fortunate to cross her path, simply by acts of kindness shown through her actions, examples of the fruits of the spirit.
Kindness is such a simple act, yet difficult at the same time. We often find ourselves so busy, distracted by everyday life, we forget to prioritize taking time to go out of our way to do something for someone else. It doesn’t have to be much, just paying attention to those in our lives, noticing when they need a hug or to talk. It could be noticing the people we pass or come in contact with each day and recognizing they’re having a bad day or upset and would benefit from a simple conversation or just a polite smile, knowing people care is a blessing.
The simple things we do in our lifetime often mean the most; they can make the biggest difference in someones life.
Take a moment, think someone who has made a lasting impression on your life and then think about ways you’ve impacted people’s lives with simple acts of kindness.
As Thanksgiving approaches we are reminded to be grateful, thankful and kind toward others. During this month join me in committing to being extra kind, showing simple acts of kindness to those already in our life and for the mere strangers crossing our paths each day, who knows, you just may change their life or maybe they’ll bless yours.