"Where the river flows, everything will live."
The gentle flow of a river has always captured my attention. I am awed by its beauty, fearful of its power, and thankful for the many ways a river nourishes and replenishes the earth. Rivers provide a source of food, electricity, transportation, and a venue for outdoor recreation. Historically, where the river flows, people live.
Today, I experienced another type of life giving river, kindness. Not one to spend money on expensive drinks, I debated, prayed, yes prayed, and dialogued with myself as to whether or not buying a chai tea on my way to work was good stewardship of the provisions God had granted me. Finally, concluding that I could splurge today, I went to a popular coffee and tea shop to place my order at their drive through. I ordered and began to reach into my wallet to get the exact amount ready that was required. To my complete shock, the kind woman at the window smiled and explained that the man in front of me had paid for my order. Hard to convince, I required confirmation that I had heard correctly. Yes, my painfully debated drink had been paid for.
Pulling away from the window, tears welled up in my eyes. God had reminded me of the life nourishing impact of kindness. My belief in the ability of mankind to be kind has recently been teetering from watching too many news reports of presidential hopefuls spewing venomous accusations at one another, pictures of cities protesting against perceived or actual injustices, and many other forms of anger displayed through mankind. My belief that kindness remained has been dangling.
Research supports the impact that kindness has whether we are the receivers or givers; blood pressure is lowered, immune systems are strengthened, depression is lifted, and happiness is bolstered. I would like to offer some of my own, unresearched, thoughts about the power and impact of kindness:
1. Families are restored.
2. Marriages are healed.
3. Poverty is reduced.
4. Hope is restored.
5. Purpose is discovered.
My list could go on, but that would take away the time needed for you, the reader, to get up and write a letter, make a phone call, volunteer, or find another way to extend kindness.
Where there is kindness, people will "live".