"Gratitude on a daily basis means we express appreciation for what we have now without qualification for what we had in the past or desire in the future." - Bishop Robert D. Hales (Apr 92 LDS General Conference)
I have worked in the Postal Service for over 25 years. I have also worked in restaurants, nursing homes, retail stores, fire departments, newpaper delivery, and even as a telephone solicitor. In other words, I have spent all my live working with, and for, other people.
People can be very interesting creatures. They can be friendly or standoffish, impatient, angry, sad, generous, compassionate, and even funny. But each one of us has at our disposal one of the greatest powers on earth—kindness.
Years ago, I was a single mom who moved to a new area. I had six small children and did not know anyone else. I had friends that helped me unload all our household goods and than left me there to put everything in order. I had started putting things away and was feeling rather lonely and depressed (hard to do with six small children clammering all around you). It was a new part of my life, and I wasn't sure that I was looking forward to it. There came a knock at the door and three men stood there. They were the new bishopric who had received a call from one of my friends and they were coming over to see what I needed in the way of help. Within an hour, dinner had arrived from my new sisters in the ward. Several people had come to help unpack, and I was welcomed into the area by my new neighbors.
I seem to forget many things that have happened in my life. All these years later, I can't remember their names, or which houses belonged to them, but I can remember the kindness shown by a group of strangers to a woman who was embarking on a new and terrifying journey in life. They made all the difference for me at a time that was very difficult. They gave me the strength I needed to press forward with faith and hope.
How often have you heard the saying, "Kindness begets kindness". We've all been trapped in line at the supermarket, the bank, or even the Post Office. It doesn't take long for people to get out-of-sorts, to feel mistreated, to think that the employee is not hurrying fast enough. A glare from the clerk or teller, a surly comment from a customer, and the tension keeps mounting higher and higher, until it snaps and someone says or does something they should not.
Yet how many times have you also seen a kind word or thoughtful gesture defuse that tension in an instant? I have. In fact, it's usually the only thing that will work. Once I witnessed a store manager calm an irate customer (my mother) by simply pulling over a chair for her to sit down. It was amazing and actually defused a situation that was quite embarrassing to me.
I have learned in my life that it is important to be kind, even (and probably especially) when you don't feel like it. You never know when a thought you speak will find it's way deep into the heart of another. You never know how much a small, seemingly insignificant thing can change the heart of a son of daughter of God. You never know when you will have the chance to make a difference.
Have you had a kindness shown?
Pass it on;
'Twas not given for thee alone,
Pass it on;
Let it travel down the years,
Let it wipe another's tears,
'Til in Heaven the deed appears
Pass it on.
~Henry Burton, Pass It On
Patty Ann is a busy mother, grandmother, and wife. She lives her life in the woods she loves up on the top of a beautiful mountain. She loves music, photography and writing. Most of all she loves her Heavenly Father and enjoys writing about his influence in her life. You can find her on her blog at Pitterle Postings