I see the anger and division happening in our country. I know you see it, too. How can we not?
People are working so hard to heal the brokenness once and for all, but along with that comes more fear, more disagreements about the best way to create change and more distance between people.
Good will come of this. I’m certain of that. These are growing pains. I wonder what steps I can take to be a balm to hurting hearts, and then I get another story of kindness from someone, reminding me not to wait for change, but to be the change.
We don’t have to step out on a stage or in the middle of the street to do that. We can find ways to say “I care” in even the most average daily activities.
This letter came to me from Crystal in Fargo:
"This is a time of crisis in our nation. It is also time to help those in need. There are always small ways we can all make every day a better day.
"While shopping at CVS, I noticed an injured man using a wheeled-aide under his bent, bandaged knee. He was looking to exchange a knee brace for a larger size. Only one checkout in the store was open, so I waited behind the man.
"Did you know that most stores no longer accept returned goods nor will they make exchanges? We all learned this new ‘virus’ policy that day as the clerk explained that the store could not exchange or refund the knee brace. Other customers were collecting behind; starting to get frustrated as the injured man kept explaining he had a problem and needed to exchange for a size larger. All to no avail.
"Also, he did not have the $18 or his credit card with him to purchase a new one. I reached into my pocket to hand him a $20 bill. He wouldn't take it, but I just pushed the money onto the counter. ‘Sir, you need some help today, let me help you get what you need.’
"Almost in tears, he promised when he recovered and was able to go back to work, he would pay it forward to someone else in need. It was just the best way to reach out and touch someone with kindness."
I’m not an expert on social change, but I know how I have been affected by other people’s kindness. Sometimes it’s just a quick change in my mood and sometimes their kindness helps to open my vision and see things from another perspective.
What would happen if we all began to truly see people, just like Crystal did? We could give a hand, give a word of encouragement or give an authentic smile. Instead of being annoyed by the delays in our days or fearful of someone we don’t even know, we could be the catalyst to communities of caring all across the nation.
We may not have all the answers, but we have one: kindness.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at email@example.com.
Nicole J. Phillips, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Aberdeen, S.D., with her three children and her husband, Saul Phillips, the head men's basketball coach at Northern State University. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.