Thursday, July 17, 2014

"Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind, the second is to be kind, and the third [you guessed it] is to be kind. Henry James
Oh sure, there are more things we could add, but you have to admit, kindness is pretty powerful!  I don't know anything about Leo Buscaglia's theology, but I agree with his thinking here - Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. 
I returned home with many lessons of kindness packed amidst my dirty camp clothes. 
Each day, my darling friend, Charlotte, strolled in my cabin, smiled, looked around and left. I never caught on; she was delivering a note each day for my pillow. She must have slipped in later to practice her brand of kindness, but I didn't know until the very last night that she was the precious student who took the time to leave me written encouragement and love.  She wasn't the only kind female during the week, though.  I was surrounded by the sweetest group of girls who doted on me and made me feel a part of their lives. 
That included the very best cabin on the grounds!
I chose not to share Rob's illness and death with my girls; I wanted our cabin to be a happy, "normal" place. My co-sponsors, Katie and Debbie, always make life fun and I wanted that for our campers. However, Wednesday's total meltdown led Katie and Debbie, my Aaron and Hur for the week, to spill my story and when I arrived that night, I was greeted with so much tenderness and concern from pj-clad teenagers that I thought my heart might burst. A night I will hold close to my heart for a very long while.
I end this chapter with joy, rejoicing in kind friends!  Even though, in the early hours of camp, I was ambushed with words and actions that could have easily destroyed my spirit and usefulness for the week, the kindness of others turned my week around and perhaps, spoke louder than any song or sermon. 
Kindness doesn't come naturally. Like love, it's not just a "feel good" emotion, but a purposeful action. Kindness requires looking into another's soul and asking "Where in life is this person and what does she need at this very moment?" I think that is impossible to carry out without God's touch. I love Sylvia Rossetti's wise words.
Genuine kindness is no ordinary act, but a gift of rare beauty. 

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