I don’t mind “generic” for lots of things; generic dish washing liquid, generic paper to write my lists on, even generic toilet paper. I’m all about saving a penny or two when I can.
But generic gets a little tougher when you talk about things that money can’t buy. It’s still possible, though; like a generic evening at home, or a generic walk in the woods. Not everything has to be spectacular, or particular, or awesome. Middle of the road is good sometimes. Even very good.
But some things just can’t be generic.
Kindness is anything but generic. Because kindness involves thought, plan, purpose, determination.
Kindness is chosen, one hundred percent of the time. It never just happens–even when extended toward a stranger. There is no “by accident” with kindness.
Kindness is personal.
I found myself getting upset at the long wait as I stood in line at the grocery store last week when I noticed that the man behind me only had a handful of items in his cart. But I am a busy person, you know–places to go, people to see… After a quick debate with myself, I made the decision to let him go in front of me. “Oh,” he remarked, “I wasn’t expecting that.” I loved it. I loved that he became aware of the kindness extended to him and that he responded to it.
Kindness is targeted to specific people and situations.
If you are allergic to peanuts, kindness will never involve giving you a peanut butter sandwich, even if you are hungry.
Kindness is not about showing off.
I once tried to be a friend to a difficult lady, or so it seemed to me at the time. I would pick her and her children up, bring them to my home and let them enjoy a few hours away from the nightmarish life they had at home. After a few weeks, she gently asked me, “Why do you always say how much work it is to come and get me, and how busy you are?” I wished the earth could swallow me up at that moment… and God got at my heart that day.
Kindness is not about easing your conscience.
Kindness is kindness. But the fruit of kindness is only beautiful on those who act from the heart. The recipients of kindness are people, just like you and me–they know when things are done out of obligation, and when the heart is not completely in it.
Yep, kindness is anything but generic!
Cultivating Thankfulness with Ann Voskamp
#193 Children’s Giggles
#192 Today’s perfectly blue Sky
#191 Community Supported Agriculture
#190 the Joy of Giving Secretly