A Man Called Kindness

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
An experienced that I couldn't leave unshared. I hope you enjoy.

Submitted: August 20, 2010

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Submitted: August 20, 2010

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It was an average day. I went to work 30 minutes early, watched the three amazing kids I normally look after, made it a point to get to Albuquerque before the bank closes to ensure my rent money for the week actually goes toward the rent. As with most paydays, there were things I needed- vitamins, etc. But today felt different. There was something in the way the sun shown off the mountains, like something was about to happen. I don't know if it was apparent to everybody, or if it was the perceptiveness that only presents itself when I am about to encounter a person or situation that requires the amazingly graceful Holy Spirit flowing divinely with the not-so-amazingly clumsy words of my human mouth. In any case, there was something different about my 35 minute drive into Albuquerque today.

My usual parking spot in front of the bank was available, as it always is seven minutes before the people who are locked in the cubicles of the temple for ''what is Caesar's'' are freed of their chains, and I was pleased to find only a few others in the line leading to service. In front of me was a man of meager stature with a very accomplished look on his face. I assumed he had just finished a hard day's work. In front of him was a woman with her son. As I glanced around the rest of the room, I noticed a woman with curly, untamed hair stumbling, frazzled, into line behind me. The look on her face was one I recognized. She either had a really intense and exhausting time in worship, or she was at her breaking point. After another look, I decided the latter was more likely. Somewhere in the time it took her to walk through the door and stand in line behind me, we made eye contact. That was it. I was involved. There was only one thing to do.

''Hi,'' I offered quietly. ''Long day?'' She sighed. I smiled.

''Just frantic,'' she expressed her angst, containing it as best she could, failing to a noticeable extent. She went on.

'' My daughter just bought a car,'' she explained, ''and if my son touches it, his sorry ass is on the street.'' It was at this point I realized there was something she had been dying to get out, and, as if I had known her for years, she began telling me what was getting to her. Her son, who had dropped out of high school at 16, was without a job, and getting difficult for her to handle by herself. Her husband, or ex I assume, had not been in the picture for years. Her daughter, the one who managed to buy herself a car, has a grade point average of 4.2, and has already applied for and secured several scholarships to college.

''I only wonder why one is so wonderful and the other is so screwed up,'' she said, hanging her head as if blaming herself for the poor choices of her son.

''What's your name?''

And there it was. That which breaks almost any hold of unwillingness (if there is any left) to open up, to become vulnerable. It was beautiful. like the first raindrop after months of draught. A real, genuinely grateful, unrestrained smile.

''Eileen,'' she told me, suddenly relaxed, as if standing among a group of friends.

As I told her my name, she reached out for my hand. She reached for my hand. She welcomed me, as I was, wearing a dirty t-shirt probably smelling like fish sticks. I smiled.

We continued talking, casually joking about the silliness and seriousness of the choices teenagers make, until it came time for us to go our separate ways, as the two remaining bank tellers were on opposite sides of the room. As I walked away, I thought about something. It wasn't what I would expect it to be. I didn't think about her son or daughter, or how many stupid mistakes I myself have made as I have grown. I thought about Eileen. I thought about her smile. That unguarded gesture expressing her knowledge of acceptance. I made someone feel loved today. My job is done.

But I had errands to run. Eileen wasn't the last person I would interact with today, nor was the oddly skeptical lady who was supposed to be cashing my check, but who instead for some reason didn't think I was the real Emily Rose Neumann. Anyway, back to errands. I still needed vitamins.

I made my way to Walgreens, driving particularly slower than usual down I-40, praying for Eileen and her children, thanking Jesus for the opportunity to meet her. Avoiding several pedestrians, I made my way through the parking lot. There was a group of young people trying to look inconscpicuous, and failing. I didn't say anything, I just nodded and smiled. They looked at me like I was crazy. As I walked around the corner I noticed a tall older man standing over what looked like a luggage cart which was filled with odd things. Not odd in nature. they were actually relatively ordinary things- things like loaves of homemade bread, paintings, candles, pamphlets. I was intrigued as I thought about what a man would be doing on a corner of Walgreens with a cart full of goodies like that.I decided I must investigate. We exchanged smiles, and the man gestured for me to come closer. He kindly greeted me, and without a biased initiation we shook hands.

\"Hello. I'm Emily,\" I said, more confident than I had been when speaking to Eileen.

\"Emily, it's very nice to meet you,\" he replied. \"My name is Kindness.\"

At first I responded with my automatic, \"It's nice to meet you.\" It was only when my brain finally caught up with my independently functioning mouth that I realized what he had told me.

\"Did you say your name was 'Kindness'?\" I inquired, noting the deep furrow which had appeared between my eyebrows.

\"Yes I did.\"

He smiled.

I imagine that it was my gleeful smile that caused him to pull me into tight hug. Now, I normally don't go around hugging people after only an introduction, but this man- this beautiful spark of the Divine- was different. Perhaps it was the purity I saw in his unafraid eyes, or the wisdom of the wrinkles on his untrimmed face. Whatever it was, I felt a kinship with this human after only just a smile and a handshake. I wonder if this kinship would be felt, no matter the person, if we all could be so trusting and open.

After we broke away from our embrace, I asked him about his cart. He explained that he was from a small commune outside of Gallup and that he and his family of missionaries were on there way home. He told me that the group of people he lives with run a mission in Gallup spreading the Good News of Christ and helping the poor in the area.

I must honestly say that I was so mesmerized by the entire situation that I didn't hear much of what he said, but I can remember this- The pure Love that so obviously radiated from this human being was overwhelming. The more I try to explain this the less clearly it seems to be communicated. Most experiences I find have sufficient words to describe them- this one, however, seems to become more and more indescribable as time goes by.

He handed me a pamphlet containing information about their work, and I gadly read it while he smiled over me. After I had read through a mission statement, a page of outreach procedures and member lists, I decided to look at the things in the cart. I was moved. I was touched. I was going to give them money. As I searched through the layers of goodies, I found a candle. This candle had a picture of the people who had made it- A woman and her daughter. They looked happy in the picture- like they had everything they could ever dream of having.

As I pulled out my money, he pulled something large from the underside of the cart- a loaf of bread.

\"I don't have that much money,\" I jokingly said as he extended the loaf toward me.

\"This is for you. You may do with it what you will, but I want you to know that there are people who are ready to take care of you just as you are willing to take care of them.\"

I culdn't say anything but a feeble and sincere \"thank you\" as we exchanged currencies. That day, I walked away from walgreens with more than just a bottle of vitamins, a candle and a loaf of banana bread. I walked away with a newfound understanding of Human's capacity to Love.

As I came out of the store, I gave the man called Kindness another tight squeeze and waved farewell. I thought to myself as I again passed the boys smoking on the corner, \"I very much hope to see him again.\"

I walked to my car and noticed a woman on a bench who I had seen in that very same place when I had arrived. She looked a little worried, and I was on such an incredble high that to my surprise I almost automatically asked her if she was ok. She struggled to stand, and I noticed that she was somewhat young (I found out later that she was in her mid-forties).

Rather frantically, she said, \"I walked down here about two hours ago to get my medication and my feet are so swollen that I don't think I can make it home. I live just a half a mile away.\"

Immediately I asked her if she needed a ride. She graciously accepted my offer and slowly made her way to my car. I told her my name as she buckled her seat belt. She managed to mention that her name was Mary while she was showering excessive thank you's upon me. I told her it was no problem at all- that it was my pleasure to help her. The CD I had been listening to was Phil Wickham, and as she heard the lyrics she asked me if I was a Christian. I answered yes, and she smiled and said, \"I thought so.\"

She told me she had a meeting at the community center by her apartment that night wit a group of women who do a Bible study. She explained to me that they have been praying for her to be healed ever since she had a stroke in 2006. She had been diagnosed with diabetes just 5 months earlier, and decided that it was time for a serious change in lifestyle.

She continued to tell me her stories- of her children, the husband she had lost to a heart attack, her sister who had moved to Albuquerque afterward to help her through. She told me how my kindness reminded her of her sister, and how much she missed her.

Thirty minutes passed, and as we hugged goodbye, tears filled her eyes.

\"Thank you, Emily,\" she said. \"Be blessed.\"

She could not say say more than that. She didn't need to.

As I began my drive home, I noticed something different. The way things looked, smelled, tasted. Then I realized that it wasn't the world around me that was different. It was me- I had changed. In those two insignificant hours I had spent in Albuquerque, I had become something new- something beautiful. I had embraced the Love I had always known and lived in it.

Love. Live. The days we have are a gift. Forgive and Never give up. Everyday is the start of something beautiful.

Let Kindness be our name, and Love our purpose.


© Copyright 2018 Rose Loupe. All rights reserved.

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