One of the fun things we’ve done with your kids for a while now is asking them about their day at dinner. Usually, Crystal or I will ask who made a difference during the day. Sometimes there is something that they have to share right off the bat, other times they just make stuff up. It’s pretty easy to tell the difference.
We do this trying to foster a sense of kindness in our kid’s lives. We don’t believe that kindness is a hashtag you do or monthly event, it’s a lifelong focus and it takes intentionality.
The other thing we have to do is make sure Crystal and I are modeling this in front of them also, so every time we can, we make a difference and we share it with them.
So I made a difference recently and I was elated about it.
Wednesday has a way of becoming big and bad for me. It’s the day when I schedule almost all of my meetings, so from morning till afternoon, I’m usually meeting with people, helping, connecting, praying, strategizing, blah, blah, blah. I love it!
This particular Big Bad Wednesday was gnarly on all levels and border-lined on just plain ludicrous. I had meetings scheduled back to back from 9AM through 8PM, with a small margin from 1:30-4:00.
After my lunch meeting, I was making my way back to my car. I had 20 minutes before my next meeting was to begin and it was with an outside contractor, so I really needed to be on time and prepared. This was the moment the Holy Spirit chose to interject into my space.
Don’t you love that? When God chooses something for you just to see how much you really do love his people? I mean, I say I do, and I tell other people to, but how well do I actually love his people? We’re about to find out.
This young man comes up to me and says the line, hey man, can I ask you something. Immediately, I’m locked and loaded in my defensive mode. “No, I don’t have any cash” I’m mentally preparing while thinking what else I can say or do to escape or evade the imminent.
But to my surprise, it doesn’t come! In fact, it never came. I was almost disturbed it didn’t come and really had to process what to do with an actual, tangible request for someone to care.
The young man just asked me to put directions in his phone to walk to Walmart so he could board a bus to get to Harrisburg where his nephew had been hit by a bus and was in the hospital.
The Walmart he was referring too was over 10 miles away!
He hands me his phone with Google Maps opened and I showed him how to select walking directions, he grabs his phone, heads off and shouts back, “thanks man, thanks so much.”
And cue Holy Spirit for the slap in the face moment that follows where he reminds me, “not everyone is out for a dollar and a biscuit, some actually do need hope.”
I’m down to 15 minutes before meeting now and I face a choice, do I just move on or do I re-engage and help some more. I wrestled with that for about 30 seconds while I watched him walk down the street looking at the directions on his phone. My feet hurt with the thought of walking 4:15 minutes to the Walmart where he would board a bus.
So I drove closer to where he was, rolled down the window and shouted in his direction, “Hey dude!”. He didn’t hear me, too much traffic noise.
I did it again. Still no response. Again, this time louder and with some ladies standing between he and I. They looked at me pretty strangely, but he still didn’t hear me. I jumped out of my truck, leaving it running and ran over to him. Finally, he sees and hears me and I asked him if I could give him a ride.
He’s elated at the idea and jumps in the front seat.
Off we go, as fast as I was comfortable going in town. I told him that I’d get him as far as I could but wouldn’t be able to get him all the way there. He’s still overjoyed at the idea of saving himself a few steps along the way.
During our short trip, he tells me more of his story, where he’s from, what he does for work and about this incident with his nephew. I learned that Isaiah, nephew, is on the autistic spectrum and had run out in the street while waiting for the school bus only to be struck by oncoming traffic. That was his story. I later looked for news articles about incidents reflecting those details and couldn’t find anything but that really doesn’t matter all that much.
I got him a good few miles down the road before I had to drop him off and head back to my meeting. He jumped out of my truck, shakes my hand and again profusely thanks me for the ride and heads off.
Again, cue Holy Spirit as he subtly reminds me what I’ve recently taught my people at Grand Point Church — Shippensburg, “What the world needs is not another church, it needs a group of Christ-followers who are passionate about getting Jesus to the people.”
So I went home Wednesday is with a story to share at the dinner table and hopefully some hope given away, even if it was just a little bit.
What about you, what differences have you made that have marked your life recently?
How have you found cool ways to lead or challenge your kids on kindness?