The healing reward of kindness
By DAVE MYERS
There is so much joy in doing something kind for others that it occasionally feels self-serving!
We are a broken people. Not just because of the times; not just here at home. All people. All the time. Everywhere. If we weren’t, what need would we have for a Loving God? Besides, if you’re not broken in some way, there’s a good chance you’re the Second Coming, and you should call the bishop immediately.
Throughout our lives we have the choice to expand our brokenness: drugs and alcohol, pornography, gambling, excessive attachment to things of the world, a multitude of forms of abuse....
Or we can promote our own healing. One strong way to do so is through acts of kindness. We get such joy out of serving others because in doing so we heal ourselves — a healing that Bishop John is humbly asking us to use as a prayer for priestly vocations.
“One must do all one can for everybody, expecting no return save from God only.”
-- St. John Vianney
So, my wife and I are in front of Hastings in Dodge City (long since gone out of business). I used to love going to Hastings. The movies, the action figures, the books! It was southwest Kansas’s version of Disneyland, at least for a nerd like me.
An older couple from Vietnam approached us and conveyed that they were looking for the Social Security office. They spoke little English and were from a distant town. It was difficult to explain where the office was; there were lots of turns and curves. And it didn’t help that all I really wanted was to get in the store and begin looking for “It Came From Beneath the Sea” on DVD.
Then my wife, Charlene, says, “You follow us! We will lead you!”
What? I said through the look on my face. No! I want to go look for my movie! I don’t have time for ....
“Love is patient, love is kind ...”
-- 1 Corinthians 13:4
We get into the car and they follow us along the highway to the first of two turns, around the curved parking lot to the door of the Social Security Office.
We get out of the car. The diminutive couple walk over, put their hands together as if in prayer, close their eyes and bow to us. It was incredibly moving. Life-affirming. And to think I almost missed out on this wonderful healing moment.
On another occasion, while driving in downtown Denver, I came to a red light. On the corner was a man begging for money.
I dug out a couple of dollars, rolled down my window, reached over and gave them to him. Just a couple of dollars, no sacrifice at all.
Then something amazing happened. This man with the beard and wearing a dark hoodie that shadowed his face, held his hand out over my car and prayed over me. I saw St. Francis in this man.
A small gift for him, a great healing for me!
When God puts you in a place to perform an act of kindness, be honored! God is using you! God says, “My precious child needs help. Let’s get ________ (your name) in there. She/he will help ’em out! We can depend on _______!”
“What joy will there be at the judgement for those who will learn from Jesus Christ that the kindness they showed to the poor was kindness shown to him. ‘Yes,’ he will say to him, ‘it was I myself that you came to see in that poor person; it was to me that you rendered that service; it was to me that you gave alms at your door.’”
-- St. John Vianney, see Matt. 25:31-46