The idea behind the Kindness Korps is to create a structure dedicated to extend our caring ministry beyond our church walls, and into the communities where we live.  Through this program, all church members and friends are divided geographically into zones – each zone has a cadre of volunteers who will support them with Meals, Visits, Transportation, and Caring Communication. The objective of this program is to foster friendship, support our neighbors as they cope with life’s burdens, and generally extend assistance for and to one another. This caring ministry may take the form of support in times of need, celebrating the joy of an exciting life event, or assisting the integration of a visitor or new member  into the life of the church.

If you would like to join the Kindness Korps, please contact the Kindness Korps Liaison – Linda Green


Kindness Stories

These stories and examples are all around us.  Please tell of those that especially move you—it matters.  Be a Cub Reporter and tell others of the Kindnesses you observe, offer, and accept.  Names will not be used, just the kindness.

You can share your stories of kindness in this way:

E-Mail your story to kindness@srvumc.org.  Your story will be posted to the church website within a few days.


 

Different Cultures, Different Nationalities, One Neighborhood.  A wonderful transformation has occurred in the neighborhood of a couple of church members.  Over the past few years “Myron” and “Maddie” welcomed families from China, Russia, Wales, Samoa, and Vietnam.  As each family moved in the veterans on the short street welcomed them and helped them get settled.  All of the new residents are parents of young children, and now the veterans hear the sounds of children playing, sounds absent from the neighborhood for years.

Myron and Maddie are learning about different cultures as they are sure the new residents are experiencing the same.  September 27 of this year was the “Chinese Moon Festival,” the second most important day for the Chinese.  The new neighbors gave Myron and Maddie a special gift, consisting of a written sentiment and Moon Cookies in recognition of this important date, when the Chinese celebrate and embrace family and friends.  The special gift to them caused Maddie to conduct a little research of the Moon Festival, and now she and Myron have a better understanding and appreciation of their new neighbors and their culture.

A couple of weeks ago, Myron stopped to talk with one of the new neighbors and her 4-year-old daughter.  The little girl was riding her tricycle, one with many buttons that when pressed are supposed to make various sounds.  Well, they didn’t.  The little girl said, “It’s broken.”  In the early evening, Myron went to the home of the little girl, stealthily picked-up the trike, took it home, and replaced the batteries, tested the horns, and put back the trike.  The next day, the little girl was riding it again, and she told Myron how everything worked now, as she happily said, “It’s not broken anymore!”  The mother’s smile let Myron know she knew who fixed it.

Each of the five children is adorable, and they now understand that either Myron or Maddie will almost always have some little gift for them.  If nearby, one can often hear Maddie and Myron smiling, and expressing how happy they are, how joy is all around them, and how they pray the whole world was like their short street and neighborhood.

A family often played basketball together in their driveway.  One day they found an envelope on their front doorstep.  It contained a note and $20.  The note read, “Thank you for the joy you give us every time we drive by and see your family having so much fun together,” signed, anonymous.

A down and out man went table-to-table at a local fast food restaurant, and he asked each person if they would buy him a cup of coffee on this cold morning.  Having overheard the negative replies, a customer got up, led the man to the order counter, had the man order whatever he wanted, and covered the cost.

Several Trinity Center clients volunteered to repair bicycles which were given to those less fortunate.

A church member who volunteers at a local hospice facility met a young man grieving the loss of his wife.  Seeing the loneliness and despair in the man, our member recruited many others and meals were provided for several weeks to this man and his two sons.


Let’s see now: Kindness Matters vehicle bumper magnets (Check); Kindness in our hearts and minds (Check); Take action when we see others needing a hand, a compliment, a shoulder (Check).  Share with others those kindness actions that you have taken, observed, or received (Ongoing). The next step is to share with others those kindness actions that you have taken, observed, or received.  Names will not be used, just the example of kindness for others.


A floral business owner and church member delivered flowers to an elderly woman.  The woman had recently lost her husband, was moving herself, and was quite distressed.  The church member gathered ten others who spent a day assisting the woman in her relocation.  She stated at the end of the day, “This is the kind of church I would like to belong to.”

Out of the Mouths of BabesRecently a friend, a mother of a 13-year-old boy, was driving in a shopping area with her son.  Upon turning a corner she came upon a young boy and his pregnant mother.  The mother held a sign that requested financial help from passing drivers.  As my friend’s vehicle passed by, she noticed new and expensive clothing worn by the young boy.  My friend did not mention her observation to her son, and her son asked, “Mom, why didn’t you stop and help that pregnant woman and boy?  The woman needs food for her baby.  It must be hard for them to have to ask for the help of strangers.  Please go back and help them.”  The mother did as her son asked, she came back around the lot, and this time stopped and gave financial assistance to the pregnant woman.  “Thanks, mom,” my friend’s son offered.  When my friend told me of this, I asked her why she did not mention the clothing to her son.  She answered, “It’s good that my boy has a good and kind heart, and I’m proud of him.  He will someday learn that some people may take advantage of his kindness, but that is for him to find out later.  For now, let his heart be full of compassion for others.”

Disabled Woman and Her Angels.  A woman, a Trinity Center participant, suffered a stroke while “on the street.”  She was taken to emergency, went into a rehab facility, and then one of the SRVUMC Trinity Center volunteers secured her a rental room.  She is on disability.  On a regular basis, and outside their regular volunteer jobs at Trinity Center, a team of four SRVUMC volunteers have, for several months, given her transportation to, among other destinations, her credit union, grocery store, therapy, doctor’s appointments, and Trinity Center.


To all readers:  Where do you think all of these kindness stories come from?  The Internet?  Nope!  YouTube, Newspapers, Magazines?  Nope!  Nope! And again, Nope!  You are thinking way too big.  Every story is homegrown!  Every one is the story from our SRVUMC family.  Each is a kindness given, a kindness received, or a kindness observed in our Tri-Valley area!


Love and Compassion Have No Bounds.  During the horrors of the May 2014 shootings near the UC Santa Barbara campus, a young man, visiting friends in the Isle Vista community, was seriously injured when hit by the gunman’s car.  Immediately upon hearing the injured man is the son of an Alamo couple, two Neighborhood Leaders, contacted the family, offering compassion, understanding, and assistance.  While the injured man’s mother was with him in Santa Barbara, the two leaders, representatives of our church and caring neighbors, made a visit to the home.  They brought groceries, and spent time with the father, listening to him, consoling him, and caring for him, exemplifying kindness and love in action.

Close Encounter of the Grocery Kind(ness).  While waiting in the check-out line at a local grocery, I listened to this exchange of one offering an unusual kindness, and the other gratefully accepting it:

The elderly and frail woman was standing in front of the large Coca Cola display with a look of puzzlement.  A man, his hands and arms carrying several items for purchase, noticed the woman, and he asked if he could help her.  “How nice of you to offer,” she replied, “Yes, please help me.  You store employees here are always so helpful.”  There were a couple of obstacles she had, the first, trying to understand the “Buy 2, Get 3” sign and its meaning.  And, secondly, how was she going to lift the cases of soda onto her cart.  The man explained the signage, and told her she could get 5 cases for the price of 2, unless she wanted to double-up and get 10 for 4.  She laughed at this and said 5 would be plenty, and the man placed the cases in her cart.  The woman thanked him, again noting how helpful employees are at this grocery.  He replied with a, “You are welcome,” and he winked at me as he knew I was aware he was not a store employee, but just an ordinary citizen offering to help another.

The Beginning of the SRVUMC Kindness Cadre Cab Company?  Could be!  In operation for months, a team of four individuals formed a Kindness Cadre to enable two of our church members, who no longer drive, to attend church each Sunday.  Each member of the team commits to take one Sunday a month, and each is willing to be flexible if exchanges are needed.  The people receiving the rides are so very grateful and continually tell their friendly and kind cabbies that coming to church each Sunday means the world to them.

There are others in our congregation who no longer drive, but who long for the togetherness of our faith community on Sunday mornings.  Would you consider joining the SRVUMC Kindness Cadre Cab Company?  Cabbie licenses are available and free.  No approval by a government bureau is required.

The Sound of Music Brightens the Day and Relieves the Soul.  A church member and her friends, together have used music and their own special and caring personalities to brighten the days and spirits of many patients at the Livermore VA hospital.  They enjoy the weekly karaoke night at the local bowling alley, but they have stepped beyond their own enjoyment.  One of the singers at the bowling alley, a friend of theirs, was diagnosed with ALS and now resides at the VA Hospital in Livermore.  One day the bowling alley karaoke DJ had an idea and said, “Let’s take the karaoke show to our VA friend.  Surely he would enjoy it.”  They did, and enjoy it they did, and their friend did, and other patients and staff in the hospital did!  The patients echoed each other’s gratitude by expressing their enjoyment and how the music had brightened their day.  From the appreciation expressed by the patients, these music providers now travel to give a monthly encore at the hospital.  What had begun as a wonderful form of entertainment for themselves has evolved and expanded (a transformation) into a monthly outreach of kindness, love, care, and friendship.

Must Kindness be So Unusual?  The news seems to be full of stories of kindness and “paying it forward” events.  Why must kindnesses be so often reported, almost advertised?  Why can’t kindnesses merely be a way of life, like breathing for instance?  Is each breath reported, is it a big deal, is it something to be admired?  Why can’t kindness be ingrained in us like breathing?  One quite ordinary act of kindness caused a friend to ponder this question and think of the contrast between an act of kindness and almost any other type of act.  It began in a local coffee shop, a woman friend of mine stood behind a young man who was obviously the office “go-for.”  He had a list of half a dozen orders, special orders every one—you know very few drink just coffee anymore.  She watched this poor fella as he moved into the “making sure” phase of his purchase, making sure all orders were correct, all orders were received, all orders had a better than fair chance of reaching the office without spilling while retaining heat.  As the young man gave the last order, his own, to the server, my friend said, “Here, please, let me buy your coffee for you.”  The young man couldn’t believe it!  Here was a woman who, for no reason other than kindness, was buying his coffee!  He couldn’t contain himself, and he almost stumbled as he expressed his thanks and joy for the $3 gift.  One would have thought he had hit a jackpot from this act of kindness.  And the young man’s reaction caused my friend to consider the contrasts between kindness and other acts.
My friend’s thoughts were:  Each day many people trudge through as if they are wearing raincoats.  It is forever cloudy above them.  With each step, they receive another unkindness, and they try to let it just run off of them.  Consider the negative actions that come your way or that you observe in just one day.  The range of settings and the unkindness’s tossed our way are unending.  We trudge along while the increasing severity of unkindness results in fog, mist, sporadic raindrops, steady rain, hail, or sleet, and each smacks against us and our raincoat.  Sometimes with the wind’s help, we’re physically pushed.  With the exception of very unkind acts, we adjust and just deal with it.  Most times there is nothing to do but accept it.  It isn’t worth the trouble; it isn’t worth the risk of receiving further unkindness.  We accept it, and we move along, eyes down, looking at what is immediately before us.  There is really nothing anyone can do but accept it.
But then, somehow the clouds part, the bright sun shines through, and, without advance notice or fanfare, a woman buys me a cup of coffee.  I peel off my raincoat.  Who needs it now—a kindness has been given to me.  Thank you, thank you!  Let’s begin a campaign to remove raincoats worn by those close to us, right now.
When it was all said and done, I had to tell my friend, “You know, if this all comes about, kindness being the norm, then I’m out of a job!”

ConnectedA very generous young woman in our church restored a surplus lap-top she owned, installed new software, and gave it to a homeless woman at Trinity Center.  This gift enabled the homeless woman to reconnect with family members.  The gift also gave her the means to send out resumes as she continues searching for employment. This act of kindness was life-giving for this woman, and she is very grateful.

Grandpa is a WatchDOG?! Is that a good thing?! A church member, whenever he visits his daughter and grandchildren, always takes one day and devotes all his energy to being one of the WatchDOGS at his grandchildren’s school.  Try not to picture him as foaming at the mouth, sporting a thick spiked collar, and barking at anything that moves (although he may act this way around the house!).  Actually, WatchDOGS are shepherds for the students, with part of their name,“DOGS,” Dads of Great Students.  A day for WatchDOGS is a full day—get a load of the items on the menu:  Walking the school perimeter, looking for anything suspicious; checking multiple times that all school exterior doors are locked; making a guest appearance alongside his grandchildren on the school’s morning news show; assisting with 4th Grade Math Class, and Computer Class, and the Library; enjoying the lunch break with his grandchildren; helping supervise playground activities; being a traffic cop before and after school; read out loud to two classes.  Whew!  What a wonderful way to be a part of the lives of one’s children and grandchildren; what an exhausting day; what a kind and loving example for others, and for his daughter, her wife and his grandchildren.
DOGS is a national organization to reinforce the male image in children’s lives through their work in schools.  Attaboy, Grandpa, here’s a biscuit for you!  Now, roll ov…….Nah, never mind!

And The Little Children Shall Lead Us.  From a SRVUMC member: The cool and dry weather allowed for a short bicycle ride the day before Thanksgiving.  The kindness I observed by three young pre-teen girls had me smiling the rest of the day, and this is how it happened:

I was plugged into my IPod as I neared a young girl, standing on the side of the Iron Horse Trail.  She was speaking to me, but Glen Campbell drowned out her words, so I stopped, removed the earbuds, and asked if she needed help.  “No, I’m OK,” she replied, “I just want you to know there is a bake sale just up the trail.”  “OK,” I answered.  I try to stop and catch a cookie or sip of lemonade anytime I’m on the trail when children are the independent small business owners.  A hundred yards brought me to the sale, operated by two more young girls, looking to be the same age as the hawker.  The girls knew how to run a business as they greeted me with, “Good morning, sir.  We have several types of cookies, cupcakes, and other baked goodies for sale.  Will you buy some?”  I said, “I’ll take four chocolate chippers,” and they started to bag them.  This gave me a chance to step back and read the sign taped to the tables.  After reading the sign, I told the girls, “Add eight more to my purchase!”  And they each gave me a huge orthodontic smile!  Their sign read: “All baked goods are baked by Jenny, Alison, and Annette.  1/2 of all sales will be given to a homeless shelter.  The other 1/2 will be given to the SPCA.  Thank you for shopping.  Happy Thanksgiving.”  I asked them. “Why don’t you give yourselves some of your sales?”  One spoke for the others, “We are thankful for many things, and we want to do something for others who could use help.”  I asked which homeless shelter would receive their gift.  The other girl offered, “We are not quite sure.  Sometimes we see a homeless person in front of our grocery store, and the next time one or more is there we want to speak with them to find out how they are and what we can do.”  How about that?!


Mr. Fred Rogers Said:  “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.”  To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”


A Generous and Warm Heart Can Produce Warm Feet.  A church member overheard this exchange between two other members:  First Person: “That’s above and beyond kindness; why did you do it?”  Second Person:  “Well, I have seen this man around town.  It was obvious that he was homeless, he did not bother others, and he just kept to himself.  I saw him on the park bench last week, and I noticed his clothes were very tattered.  I didn’t think any more about it, but when I got home and sat down to read the newspaper, the first thing I saw was an ad for boots.  I flashed back to the homeless man, and I decided to purchase the boots and give them to him.  Once I received the boots, I began looking for the man around Walnut Creek as I ran other errands.  On the third day, there he was on the park bench near the library.  I parked and took the boots to him.  They were not the greatest boots, but by his look, they were the most precious gift in the world.”

Beautiful People Giving, Beautiful People Receiving  One of the regular customers at our favorite café is an elderly man, one we have known for about ten years.  “Harold,” so quiet and so friendly in manner, seems to know everyone at the café, all of the customers and all of the employees.  Most of the time he sits alone, enjoying his breakfast, but the bench seat opposite him is like a revolving door as person after person sits a few minutes to say hello and receive hello from this gentleman.  But it’s the women employees who adore Harold and who he adores.  What great fun to see this 85-year-old man smiling and laughing as one or more of woman cuddle him, hug him, and whisper words to him; their genuine admiration and love of this man is remarkable.  We enjoy seeing and talking with him as he has the most wonderful memory.  As we approach, Harold always starts by asking how this or that went, just some little thing we had mentioned last time we saw him.
Harold is a walking and living Kindness.  But this story is of the kindness given to him each of the last five years on Thanksgiving Day.  A young women customer is the giver of the special kindness.  Harold has a few family members in the region, but as he says, “They don’t have their feast until six or seven at night.  I can’t wait that long to eat dinner, and I’m in bed by the time they are having dinner.”  Five years ago, “Kelly,” the young woman, asked Harold about his Thanksgiving plans.  When he explained the situation, Kelly told him, “OK, on Thanksgiving Day, I will pick you up at 2:00 p.m., and we will go to a great restaurant and enjoy our Thanksgiving together.  Don’t bring money; don’t bring credit cards!”  It happened, and again, and again, for five years.  This year, Harold, spoke with Kelly, and he explained his increased difficulty in walking.  Without hesitation, she replied, “OK, a change in plans.  I will go to the great restaurant, get two Thanksgiving dinners to go with all the fixings, and I’ll bring them to your home for our Thanksgiving together.”

Irritation and Inconvenience Becomes Compassion.  From a church member:  I was in my car leaving the parking lot of Ace Hardware in Alamo in the early evening.  There were two cars in front of me waiting to exit the lot in front of Starbucks, and I noticed a parked car backing up and going to hit me.  Powerless to move, I laid on the horn, but the car hit the passenger side of my car.  A few moments went by, but there was no movement in the other car—no dome light went on, no driver’s door opened.  I thought, “How is it this wacko can’t see me right in back of him!”  After the collision, I went to the driver’s door, and still there was no movement inside the car.  I knocked on the window, and I saw it was an elderly man.  He rolled down his window to say, “I did not hit your car.”  I and my injured car begged to differ with him, but then I noticed an oxygen bottle with tubes to his nose and a strap around his head.  I told him I would check my car for damage, and I discovered slight damage to the rear right panel.  In my calmer mood from the slight damage, my thoughts turned to the frail old man, and I returned to tell him of the minor damage.  I knocked on his window again, and he rolled it down.  He was now rocking back and forth in the driver’s seat, gasping for breath.  I spent the next fifteen minutes trying to reassure him my car’s damage was minor, that I would forgive him, and I pleaded with him to calm down as I thought he was going to have a heart attack.  He eventually did calm down, and his breathing returned to normal.  He kept telling me how sorry he was, and I kept telling him that everything was all right.  I asked if he felt he could drive home.  He told me he felt better after our talk, and he could drive.  We parted company with a, “Merry Christmas.”


Mr. Fred Rogers Said:  “When I was a boy I used to think that strong meant having big muscles, great physical power; but the more I live, the more I realize that real strength has much more to do with what is not seen.  Real strength has to do with helping others.”


Does our drought have more of an impact than we think?  Could there be a connection between the diminishing water reservoirs and the drying up of Kindness stories?  Will recent rains restart the flow of kindness stories?  When turning on the faucets this morning, Hot water flowed, Cold water flowed, Kindness stories were dry!  Kindnesses surround us, and yet examples of kindnesses given, received, and observed by our church family haven’t made it to our church website nor to this column.  You may be “sitting” on a story (or many), but either time restrictions or questions may be keeping you from sending your story along.  I offer my assistance.  If you call or send me the basic story information, I would be happy to prepare it, send it back to you for approval, and then I would submit it to the website and to this column.  Please call (925) 837-9419 or e-mail John Green.  Names will not be used in the story, just the example of kindness.  You are encouraged to participate in sharing kindness stories as many church members have given positive comments regarding the Kindness Matters process and this monthly column.  On a personal note:  I need this job!


A Very Special Valentine’s Day.  Valentine’s Day was coming and, like many widows, I no longer had a Valentine of my own.  Disappointed from my previous lonely Valentine-less years, I decided to have one this year.  I called the father of a friend, a friend who had passed years ago, and I asked the father, “Do you want to be my Valentine?”  He hemmed and hawed a bit, and then said, “Yes, what a great idea.  I’ve been feeling poorly lately, and I would love to be your Valentine!”
We met for brunch at a restaurant we both liked.  I got him a lovely rose, wrapped in beautiful red, sparkly paper, and I was off to the restaurant. I gave him his rose, and he gave me a box of chocolates.  Being just the two of us, we could talk without interruption.  He told me about the good old days in this valley and his role in its development.  With my love of history and his amazing stories, I was fascinated.
During the lunch he told me he had just turned 90, and he had not received a single card or phone call from his family on this momentous event.  On the sly, I had the wait staff bring him ice cream, topped with a candle, and we all sang Happy Birthday to him.
I left the restaurant beaming, happy I had reached out to someone, happy to see the smile on his face.  I felt very warm in my heart, and I thanked God for giving me a loving Valentine’s Day after all.

Treasured Mementos and Beautiful People.  The lady, a widow, brought many boxes of her possessions to the church rummage sale.  Among the items was a beautiful crystal candle holder, a gift in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary.  Returning on Saturday, towards the end of the sale, the lady discovered the crystal candle holder was still there.  She picked it up and thought, “I can’t just leave it here; it has so many happy memories for me.”  Deciding to buy it back, she approached the check-out table.  She told the two check-out ladies the story of the candle holder.  Without a moment’s hesitation, the two check-out ladies told her, “It belongs to you, you and it are intertwined with the most beautiful memories and purest love; please take it home with you.”  And so she did, accepting the candle holder from the hands and hearts of two ladies at the rummage sale, through whom God’s gift was given a second time.  As she moved to her car, the lady’s face was taken over by a sweet, beautiful smile of thankfulness, and she thought, “Kindness really does matter!”


Mr. Fred Rogers Said:  “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.”  To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”


Brothers Helping Brothers.  The connections between brothers are the strongest; the ties may be as siblings, comrades in arms, fraternity brothers, and many others based on common interests and experiences.  Here is an example of the strength of these bonds, the strength that blossoms into kindness, into love:  The son of a SRVUMC member couple remains in contact with his fraternity brothers of years ago during their Southern California university days.  Early this year, Keith, a fraternity brother, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Doctors gave Keith, a husband and father, about nine months of life.  Keith’s fraternity brothers were alerted, and they committed to raise funds for Keith’s treatment and his family.  Just as an aside, the brother’s interest in college sports, namely the NCAA Basketball Tournament, played a big part of this kindness.  Each joined a large basketball pool for the “The Final Four.”  Ten brothers joined Keith in his home to watch the final game that Monday night.  One brother actually won the large pool.  Imagine the excitement in Keith’s home, the hollering and jumping up and down—who wouldn’t!  Once all were completely celebration-exhausted, the winning brother announced to Keith that the winnings were a gift for Keith and his family.  Keith, his wife and son were stunned and thrilled.  The win and the gift were later announced as $115,000.  Overcome with emotion over this tremendous gift of love, compassion, and sacrifice, Keith announced this most wonderful kindness gave him the resolve to fight his cancer.  To this day, Keith is fighting and Keith’s brothers show their love by working down Keith’s bucket list and just being there with him and his family.  Strong ties, strong love, extraordinary kindnesses.

Are Angels On-Call or Are They on Duty 24/7?  Some of the best moments for my friend are the times she pulls into a Starbucks to pick-up a grande cup of iced black tea.  Especially enjoyable are days when she has just completed another round of her treatment for cancer.  She was fatigued this day, a day when a stranger provided a kindness.  Relatively speaking the kindness she received was no great earth-shaker, but was just an ordinary action that we ought to see every day, everywhere.  She was tired, and after placing her placard on her mirror, she just grabbed her Starbuck’s card and her cane.  She opened her door, and dropped the cane in the street, no way to start this moment.  Now she was struggling just to get out of her car.  A young man, seeing her difficulty, offered his help, and he picked up the cane and held her arm to steady her as she got out of the car.  He stayed with her until the store, and he opened the door for her.  “Thank you so much,” she said.  He moved in with the crowd, and she lost track of him.  She placed her order for her cool drink and handed the card to the clerk.  “I’m sorry, miss, but your card is short a dollar,” the clerk told her.  She considered how difficult this was going to be for her, having to go back to her car for money.  But immediately, the same young man announced, “Let me get that,” and he did.  My friend thanked the man again, repeating it at least a few times, drawing his smile in return.  The grande in one hand and the cane in her other now presented the problem of exiting the store.  “Here, let me,” was the same voice, and the young man opened the door and escorted my friend to her car, held the tea while she got behind the wheel, and made sure she was all right to go.  She rolled down the window and told the young man, “You are my hero.”  He responded, “No, I’m just a guy.”  On the drive home, my friend pondered, “Do angels appear when they are needed, or are angels always around us?”

Vocabulary of Faith: Mercy, Compassion.  The day after the pastor’s message when various photographs were shown on the screens, and the congregation noted the first emotion each felt, our church member witnessed this example to share with us:  “I was standing in line at a crowded pharmacy, the 6th in line, and one of the folks at the single window already had some kind of problem, and so the line was tied up for nearly 10 minutes.  Standing long periods of time is hard for me.  But like the man who had no shoes, after I witnessed this kindness, I knew I’d come to see the man who had no feet.  A gentleman in line behind me became impatient as he constantly looked around me to identify the gridlock’s cause.  I saw a woman come into the pharmacy with a crutch, just one, but she was walking gingerly.  By this time, a couple of more people were in line, including the lady with the crutch.  It was quiet, the sound of exaggerated sighs the only sounds.  But then, I heard the impatient man behind me say to the lady on the crutch, “No, no, it’s OK, let’s trade places, really!”  The lady was dumbfounded, but grateful.  She kept saying, “Are you sure, really?  Well, my goodness, thank you so much.”  It was a kindness I was blessed to have witnessed, and won’t soon forget.  Oh, one more thing.   I wish I had paid that kindness forward, let her move ahead of me, too.  I didn’t, but I wish I had.  However, my not taking that step in no way clouds the original kindness for me, but still…  I was relieved when a pharmacy clerk also saw the lady with the crutch and called her forward to the other register to help her.  I am blessed as I, too, have known many kindnesses, especially during the last seven years as I now need a cane when walking.  I learned many things in this short exchange.  I have been blessed, blessed to remember the kindnesses I’ve been given.  And best of all, I will now remember to pay it forward the next time I see a way to pay it forward.  So, not just the lady was blessed, I was, too.”

 


Mr. Fred Rogers Said:  “When I was a boy I used to think that strong meant having big muscles, great physical power; but the more I live, the more I realize that real strength has much more to do with what is not seen.  Real strength has to do