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When kindness comes unexpected

Mary Helen Ready

Gentle reader,

I’m going to tell you a story with a happy ending. But first, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way. You know what I mean: the current state of insanity that sweeps across our beleaguered nation. Our hearts are troubled over the pandemic plague bringing economic hardship, a vicious political atmosphere, violence in our streets, hatred and division, and don’t forget murder hornets, swarming locusts, and slow mail. I’m sure I left out a plethora of other horrors. 

The Bible says, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Calming a troubled heart takes prayer, scripture, and reliance on the Holy Spirit to speak peace over anxiety.

I’ve discovered another way to deal with strife, thanks to a recent experience.

Here’s the story I promised:

I had been to several drug stores trying to find a jar of Magnilife Restless Leg Cream for my 99-year-old mother. She often sends me on such errands equivalent to seeking the Holy Grail. So, I’m already irritated from going store to store.

Finally, I find it at CVS and take my six feet space in line. The lady ahead of me is taking a long time by asking the clerk a lot of tourist questions, wanting directions to a restaurant that has good lobster, and sending her husband back for a forgotten item.

The longer she takes, the more annoyed I become. She’s really getting on my last nerve. But I restrain myself from stamping my foot or sighing out loud. Finally, she concludes her transaction and turns to me. She apologizes for holding me up so long and puts a $20 bill down on the counter. She tells the clerk it’s to pay for my purchase. I say, “No, no, I can’t let you do that. This cream is expensive.” She replies, “Don’t you take my blessing from me!”

The $20 pays for the cream with change left over, which she leaves with the clerk to help somebody else. On her way out, she asks me to “Pay it forward.”

At once, I am riddled with guilt for being so judgmental and impatient with a

fellow human being. But at the same time, touched at the unexpected kindness.

I thought of Galatians 5:22 reminding us the fruit of the spirit is ”love, peace,

patience, KINDNESS, goodness , gentleness, and self-control.” That good lady exemplified that sweet spirit.

In the midst of trouble, the message here is “Be ye KIND to one another.”

Mary Ready

Thank you, Mr. Jeff Hahr, for your kind letter. You inspired me to tell this story.

Mary Ready of Destin is a twice-retired English teacher and long-time area resident. She wrote opinion columns for many years for The Log.