Thursday, 16 May 2013

speaking up for kindness

This morning at the petrol station, as I was filling up my car, the attendant came out and spoke to another customer, who was filling cans in a trailer. Apparently you're not supposed to leave them in a trailer, but instead take the cans out to fill them. The customer was not impressed, arguing some credentials in the area of workplace safety, but as the attendant insisted, he acquiesced. Then loudly, once the attendant had returned inside, and this customer took cans off the trailer and filled them, he yelled back towards the shop, aggressively. A friend of this customer happened to be there, and they got talking. As I returned to my car, I threw over one line - 'she's just doing her job', was told I hadn't been invited into the conversation, replied, 'fair enough', and went on my way.

As I thought about why I had bothered, I thought, perhaps I have planted a seed. Then I thought, I could write about that on my blog; and as I wondered if, to supplement my story, there would be another story I could weave in, of someone planting a seed of kindness that bore fruit some time after, that the seed planter probably never knew about, it occurred to me - but that's the point. We don't know, do we, what might grow when we plant a seed.

The attendant didn't ask me to stick up for her, probably didn't need me to - she looked tough. But in that moment, I couldn't stand by and let kindness be so ignored, forgotten, trodden on, by this person's aggression. So I spoke up for kindness.

I doubt it made a difference in that moment. I have no idea into what sort of ground that seed fell. And I will never know if it takes root and grows.

But I planted a seed.

All we have any control over, if we have any control at all, is our own actions, our own responses to the world, and to the Sacred Presence. I have heard the Divine calling my soul, and I respond. I respond to the story of God's Love the only way one can respond to love: I love (some days more faithfully and authentically than others). It's all God asks us to do - the great commandment of both Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament is to love. Love God, and love each other.

So I planted a seed.

And it seems I may have planted more than one, because hope, a commitment to kindness, and that wry humour we see in some of Jesus' responses, grew a little in me in that one act this morning.

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