Opinion Saturday

Today’s theme is Surprised by Kindness. I want to hear your stories of unexpected kindness shown to you. I’ll tell a couple of mine to give you examples.

Example #1- At the very start of our very first adoption, a friend I only knew via the internet sent us several hundred dollars — enough to allow us to go forward with our homestudy to adopt our son. She only asked that we pass on the gift to someone else someday. That gift was so affirming to both my husband and me. It told us we were on the right path.

Example #2- I was in the Denver airport with several of my children on the way back from adopting one of our Ethiopian daughters. We’d been traveling for 24 hours. We were exhausted and dehydrated and stiff. We sat chatting at the gate with an older married couple who turned out to live in a neighboring town. At one point someone walked by with a frozen yogurt heaped with blueberries. Oh, that looks yummy, I said. The husband agreed. Then he got up and walked away, returning a few minutes later with frozen yogurt not only for himself and his wife, but also for me and my children.

Both those incidents were so powerful to me. To me, it said that God cares for every detail of life, and that He does so through people who are open to his leading.

I would love to hear similar stories from your life, whether you see them as God working, or simply as kind people doing something good.

You have until Tuesday evening to write your story, either here or on your blog. I’ll award the Golden Keyboard sometime on Wednesday. Hit me with your best story!

{ 17 Comments }

  1. This just happened to us recently…

    A good friend of ours from our Sunday School class organized an adoption fundraiser for us. We spent a few weeks working on jar mixes of hot chocolate and cookies to sell and passed around sign up sheets. She took the sign up sheet to work. After word got around her workplace what they were selling and what it was for, her boss gave her a $1000 check for us! He’s never met us, and for him to give to us so generously blew me away. It was the confirmation from God that I needed that day.

  2. My youngest was born with a rare and severe skull birth defect. He has had 2 major (9 hours in length both times) reconstructive surgeries. His second one was last year. In some ways, that second one was the hardest. My husband and I *knew* what lay ahead of us. We knew the risks and we knew the dangers. His skull would be literally taken off and put back together again. He was only 15 months old.

    At the hospital, I was allowed to walk our baby back to the Operating Room and give him a kiss. I held him as they administered the gas anesthesia. I remember being so very very afraid that he would never wake up. That this would be the very last time I ever held my little one. As soon as his eyes fluttered shut, the nurse from the OR walked me to the door and asked for someone to walk with me back to the Parents Waiting Room where my husband was anxiously waiting for me. They paged a woman to come walk me back.

    This wonderful African American woman in blue hospital scrubs appeared. She was my “Mom Walker”. We began that long walk back to the Waiting Room. I remember struggling to gain my composure and trying to keep myself from running screaming back to the OR to get my baby. As my footsteps slowed, my heart could not take it anymore and I began to sob. This wonderful woman took me in her arms and just began to rock me back and forth. As I sobbed, she hummed hymns and prayed to the Lord for me. She interceded with Him on my behalf, using words that my heart was crying out but my mouth could not form. I have never in my life been so grateful for another human being.

    A few minutes passed and we began to walk slowly forwards again. A few more minutes and I began to sob again. She once again held me in her arms and hummed hymns. I finally made it to my husband’s waiting arms and I never saw that angel again. But to this day I am grateful for her unexpected and very much needed kindness.

    PS. Our baby is doing just wonderfully! His future is bright and he is a healty toddler!

  3. Oh goodness, Mary! What a hard one….to come up with ONE??!! There are SO many!!!! I would love to share a few – just that I might remember His graces and that He might be glorifed all the more!!!

    1) When we were adopting, there was NO way we could afford to adopt, so we were applying to a lot of grants, and trusting the Lord all along the way!! I remember a payment was due in a week for our homestudy, and we didn’t have the funds. My husband went to a pastoral conference in MN and saw a guy there that he hadn’t seen in years. He just came up to him and said that the Lord put us on his heart and gave him $700 – the EXACT amount we needed the next wk for the homestudy payment that was due!!!!! And during that same season (the adoption process), not too long before we got the call about our children, a man called us and left a msg on our phone saying he had heard about us, and wanted to talk to us about helping us financially! We called him back, and he wanted to give us $6000 for the adoption!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We still stand in awe of the Lord’s provisions for our adoption!!!!!

    There are SO many from this past year with all the challenges we faced, BUT this one stands out…

    2)As you know : ), I had to have an emergency c-section (which is quite a bit rougher than a planned or spontaneous c-section), and during the c-section my ribs were fractured (which we didn’t know until later) when I had Karis in September. Well, needless to say, I was in a LOT of pain, and with 2 toddlers and a newborn – I was struggling!!! My mom was here, which was HUGE. But when she decided it was time to go back to TX – I was in TEARS. I didn’t know what the LORD really had in mind for me, but I was having a hard time believing He was going to provide what I needed. I was terrified that He was telling me to suck it up and deal (though that’s not the heart of our LORD at all!!!). The night after my mom left (which was a Sunday – so Jason was home with me all day), my friend called, and said she wanted to serve me that wk by helping with the kids as much as possible. This friend had a 10 wk old and had also had a c-section!!! She came and got me kids EVERY day that wk except 1, I think, and kept them from 10-5!!!!!!! YES, that was unexpected kindness!!!!! I had NO idea that was coming – she went WAY beyond the “typcial” service to a new mom!!! She saw the need, and jumped to serve abundantly! And the Lord showed His care to me in a way that will stick all of my days! Praise Him, Praise Him!!!! She got me through one more wk of healing, and the first day I had all my kiddos at home alone….was PERFECT timing!!!

  4. That is AMAZING Shawnda.

  5. In the days and weeks following my husband’s death, we witnessed goodness and kindness in people all around us. I was surprised time and time again at how the community rallied around us, but the first Christmas without Todd will always stand out in my mind.

    When Christmas rolled around four months after my husband died, I didn’t feel much in the Christmas spirit. The memories of Christmases past haunted me and all I could focus on what how much we had lost. I did no Christmas baking, I hung no Christmas lights, I played no Christmas music. I couldn’t even bring myself to dig out the boxes of Christmas decorations. I knew I should at least get a Christmas tree, for the kids’ sake if nothing else, but I just couldn’t make myself. I kept putting it off and putting it off, but time kept going and we got closer and closer to Christmas. One evening, there was a knock at the door and standing there were several nurses from the hospital. They came in the living room and began setting up a Christmas tree. My kids were giddy with excitement and were tearing into boxes of ornaments. Up went the flocked artificial tree (we’ve always had a real tree) with gaudy plastic ornaments (we’ve always had a collection of family heirloom and sentimental ornaments) and colored lights (we’ve always had white lights). It was like nothing we’ve ever had before. It was totally tacky and totally perfect! As quick as they were there, they were gone. And left in their wake, were my kids who sat around in the glow of the tree admiring their handiwork and sucking on their candy cane treats.

    Then, a couple of days before Christmas, we heard sirens in the neighborhood. It sounded like they were getting closer and closer, when suddenly the front window of our living room was flooded in flashing red and blue lights. My wide-eyed and open-mouthed kids scrambled into the front yard to discover several firetrucks parked in front of our house. Who was sitting on top of the firetruck but Santa Claus, complete with a sack full of gifts! Santa (who looked remarkably like our ER doctor), his elves and the firemen piled into our living room and the kids were wild with excitement. They each took turns sitting on Santa’s lap and were beside themselves when Santa pulled out a gift from his bag with each of their names. There was even a large gift basket for mom, with all the fixings for a Christmas dinner. As I sat on the stairs and watched the scene below me, the tears flowed freely down my cheeks. My kids were having Christmas after all. The most amazing part of all this was that Todd never even worked for the hospital. Or the fire department. As a flight paramedic, he had interacted with these kind folks on accident scenes or in the emergency room, but was never close friends with any of them. Despite this, their compassion and kindness made Christmas happen for eight grieving and deserving children. But the greatest gift of all was the hope they gave this mom, that with the support of family and friends, things might be okay after all.

  6. I don’t have an adoption story…much as I wish I did. 🙂 But my husband and I had a unexpected kindness shown to us when we had only been married about a month. After The King quit school to work, we found out that his ex-wife had been saving up a bunch of stuff to dump on us financially. (Stuff that was so vague in their parenting plan, The King got stuck with it.) It was horrible. It was her revenge. Since we lived in a different state, we didn’t have any legal ground to stand at the time. So here we were, freshly married with a suddenly HUGE financial burden on our shoulders. It was so unfair. First of the month came and we didn’t have any money for the rent because his paycheck had been garnished and I had not found a job yet. We didn’t tell anyone what was going on because we didn’t want anyone to think we couldn’t handle being adults. So one day, I went out to get the mail and there was a letter that had no return address. Inside was a blank card that simply said “Thinking of You” and $400. It was enough to pay the rent. We were totally confused that someone would send us that money when we hadn’t told anyone about our problem. I called my Mom and asked her if she had done this and she said no, that maybe someone felt God was leading them to do it and so they did. And to remember it so we could do something else like that for someone else sometime.

    So over the years, as we have felt God leading us to, we’ve tried to thank that person by giving generously when God prompts us to do it. I have never forgotten that…EVER. It was truly a gift from God!

  7. A few years ago I was coming back from the grocery store with tons of bags. There was nowhere to park on the street, so rather than park a few blocks away and make several trips, I put my flashers on and parked termporarily next to a fire hydrant right in front on my building.

    As I started unloading my car, a woman came trotting up to me with her son. I initially thought they were going to ask me for money — that happens a lot where I used to live — but no! She was parked in the legal spot right behind the hydrant, and she wanted to tell me that she was leaving so that I could have the spot when she was gone.

    I was totally shocked, and thanked her perfusely. I vowed to do something nice like that for someone else as soon as the opportunity arose. It’s amazing how much just one small good deed can brighten a day!

  8. In June, I was heading home from visitng my sister in Arizona, just me and Tom. Except I had a stroller, and car seat, and backpack and diaperbags and 9 month old to transport. Our plane was delayed getting into Dallas, and I had exactly 5 minutes to catch my connecting flight or be stuck overnight in an airport with an infant.

    Out of the blue, the lady sitting next to be offered to help me make it to my gate. She helped me rush across the airport, and I just squeeked on the flight – they were getting ready to close the cabin door. If it were not for her, I would have been stuck for another 12 hours in the airport.

  9. Wow, all I can say is WOW- A few of these brought tears to my eyes, and that doesn’t happen very often!

    I have absolutely nothing to offer after reading these WONDERFUL stories- Amblin I can relate- my little one was “put under” also, scared me more than anything in my entire life!

  10. Oh yeah! If you would ask shallow questions I might be able to participate!! Just kidding! 🙂

  11. i was visiting my in-laws this past week for christmas, and had a horrible migraine (not surprising at all if you know me). in any case, my mother-in-law brought a bowl of hot water to soak my feet in, and then massaged them with peppermint lotion. it was so relaxing and kind. one of the nicest things i can remember something doing for me. she had no qualms about just getting down on the floor to wash and massage my feet. what a sweet woman.

  12. I totally can’t “beat” these . . . but here’s my little offering:

    “I’ll see if I can fit you in.”
    “Hmm, I should have time one of the days you are here.”
    “Let’s see if we can find a time to get together.”

    These are common phrases in my day to day life. And even more frustrating, these are common phrases when we make the long trek home once or maybe twice a year to visit our family. I’m used to it; life is busy. I expect it. I expect to flip through my calendar to schedule a few hours with the people I love most in life outside of my hubby and dear children. It even seems like that’s how it should be . . . until I call my grandma.

    No matter when we are going to be in town or for how long, she says, “We’re free whenever you’re here!” She’s been known to pencil off the whole week just for us. The gifts they’ve given us are innumerable . . . but none compare to this answer that never fails to surprise me. “I’ve got time for you!”

  13. These are good. I’m really enjoying this week’s question.

  14. just have to say…i love these comments.

  15. Fresh out of college, I moved far away for my first job. While waiting for that first paycheck, I was just about penniless, living in the hospital where I was working, eating in the hospital cafeteria on credit, and in need of a car because I was about to go on call for another hospital in the next town over. A co-worker that knew me only for the ten days I’d been on the job, offered to take me car shopping, then loaned me the $100 I needed for a down payment, telling me to pay her back whenever I could. Life fresh out of college started out with this act of kindness and continued when some one gave me a bed for my first apparment when I found lodging outside of the hospital bed I was sleeping in. I’ve ventured far down the road of life since then, and have often crossed paths with very kind people.

  16. Sorry to be late with this, but this is such a positive thing I just had to share. I have had numerous instances of people helping out just when it was needed, but one that sticks in my mind happened almost a year ago. My husband had travelled to India for business, it was our first time apart since getting married and I missed him like crazy. To make the lonely weekend go by faster, I decided to drive up and spend the weekend with my mom. Well, not 45 minutes into the drive I pulled off the highway to get some lunch. I got all turned around, ending up in a confusing parking lot and as I pulled out, I banged my tire hard into a curb and blew the tire. It was pouring down rain, I had my dog with me, I was in an unfamiliar town and I had never changed a tire in my life. I ran into the closest shop to see where there might be a garage. When the man behind the counter heard the story, he insisted on helping. He came and helped me change the tire (in the rain y’all!!) and was so nice and sweet the whole time. He just told me that if his sister or mother was broken down somewhere, he would want someone to come along and do the right thing by them. I live in a big, Eastern city where people don’t always expect kindness, so this man helping like he did really made my day and renewed my faith in humanity.

    Mary, thanks for providing all of us with an opportunity to remember the wonderful people who help us when we need it most!

  17. Wow. This is my first visit to this blog (found it because you left a comment on my blog!), and I love it! What a bunch of wonderful uplifting stories. And right when I needed to hear them. Mary, thanks for what you are doing here!

    I hope it is okay for me to jump in with my own story…. it is maybe not so impressive as some of these other stories, but it sure meant the world to us.

    After struggling with infertility and then an early miscarriage, Greg and I decided to look into adopting a baby. Money was really tight and we had no idea how we would be able to afford it. Greg told me that we would need to wait at least a year before we could even start the process. I started calling several agencies anyway to get more info and when they would hear that I needed to wait a year because we couldn’t affort it now, they typically would say to call back closer to time when we could start. I knew this made sense… but I was also so excited and really wanted someone to share more info with me.

    And then on Christmas Eve our phone rang and it was the social worker from one of the agencies I had been calling for information. I told her that we had to wait a year to start and she said okay, but then stayed on the phone with me for about an hour just talking to me and answering all of my burning questions. We kept in touch by phone and email over the next several months and in June she called me and said that she was going to be visiting another family near where we lived and asked if we’d like to go ahead and get together for our first homestudy visit. I told her that while I would love that, we still needed to wait another 6 months or so before we could afford to start. She then said “Let’s just get started. I have faith that you will pay me when you can.” I talked to Greg and we both agreed that God must be working here and for some reason we needed to get started now. So we stepped out in faith and started. And the money? It seemed to show up just when we needed it during every step of the process. In about 6 months, we had our dossier off to China! In early fall of 2005 we traveled to China and brought home our beautiful little girl, Rachel. I know that had we not stepped out on faith… had our social worker not done that for us… that we would not have Rachel in our life today. Amazing how God works through people!
    Anne