There was something extraordinary about the server who brought a Belgium waffle piled high with whipped cream and strawberries and a plate of bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, and toast to the table where Gerry and Makiya were enjoying a morning of grandfather/granddaughter time. She was notable enough that Makiya told me about their interaction and the kind way she engaged with them later. The woman made an impression on an eleven-year-old girl.
Later that day, Makiya and I stopped at our favourite coffee shop for a refreshment and the barista impressed my granddaughter with her manner as she took our order. We were all wearing masks—they’re mandatory there now—and separated by a plexiglass partition that makes it challenging for this grandmother to hear. But somehow a connection was made. When we left, pulling off masks with one hand while holding drinks in the other, we were smiling.
And later, Makiya and I in an unfamiliar store looking for unfamiliar products and a woman behind us overhearing our conversation and stepping in to help us. She, just a customer like us, taking time to be generous with both her knowledge and experience, made our afternoon. It was one of those extraordinary ordinary encounters.
Makiya and I talked, as we headed toward home, about the gift of these three people and how their kindness toward us, in turn, elicited feelings of the same in us toward others. She brought it up later at the dinner table, sharing the experiences with those who hadn’t seen it first hand. I’m convinced moments like these have the power to change our world.
The thought keeps tumbling in my mind: I’m finding it hard to be in this world. And I am. The assault of politics and the pandemic has a tendency to stain almost everything. Remember when we could be in relationship with people who didn’t necessarily share our viewpoint? Remember healthy, respectful discussion? Remember when we valued people above politics?
I have a vision in my mind of me walking away from the crowd, leaving them to their arguments and right-fighting. Some days I struggle to find a place of peace away from the noise, but I keep looking for it. And when I go out, because sometimes I have to go out, I make it a point to be extra kind in my interactions. To grant grace. Because we’re all just doing the best we can to muddle through another day.
How perceptive you are to see the gift that ordinary, old-fashioned courtesy and kindness is when it is rendered as a matter of course. Thank you for reminding me.
Many old-fashioned things never go out of style, do they? I need to be reminded of that often. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, Elaine.
Hope and kindness in the midst of it all … perhaps we notice these interactions even more against the background of division and mistrust? Or perhaps those who are kind are making an extra effort to be more themselves … We are deep in mire here in the UK too, and I feel as if it is years since it was possible to have a conversation in which people disagreed in a civil manner: your penultimate paragraph resonates with me. I tell myself that people are tryingt o do their best with what they’ve got – but it can be very hard to hold onto this some days.
I think you’re right, Alexa. We may notice moments of kindness and hope all the more in this world where the opposite seems so loud. Makes me want to keep my eyes open wider even more. It’s just another way to shine light where there seems to be dark. Like you, I believe most people are trying their level best. Wishing you a kind, magical weekend.