It was a surreal moment in time — no one would have known the swirling thoughts that were taking up so much space in my mind.
Somewhat numb, somewhat confused, somewhat scared — I pulled into the StarBucks Drive thru and placed my order. There were a couple cars ahead of me in line, which gave me a few extra minutes to compose myself.
I had just spontaneously pulled off the freeway — a few exits from my usual route home. Having spent several hours settling in my nearly 90 year old dad into his new temporary living space — in a nursing rehab facility to recover from a few bad falls he had taken at home (which none of us ever heard about when they apparently occurred). He was now about 45-50 miles from familiar territory and quite confused.
I had committed to visiting him daily to spend dinner with him — the very least I could do. It was going to be a no-brainer — strategically organizing my day to work, quick home stop-off, and then on my way to see dad.
And to be honest, it worked out better than I had imagined. I got to know the hospital workers, especially those who provided direct care for dad. Occasionally showing up for his physical therapy sessions to surprise him, dad wanted to make sure I provided expressed gratitude for his new found Team — serve them food! But if course — the authentically sincere island way to say ‘thank you.’
Preparing the meal for the PT Team was simple, and of course quite fun. Service-oriented professionals rarely expect such gestures, so to surprise them with a full on home prepared meal was delightful.
Dad progressed well over the 100-day stay, even in the face of bad days when his medication would cause seizures. He seemed to look forward to my daily visits.
The day I pulled into the StarBucks was the ‘launch day’ of that journey with dad. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know how it would end. Fear had suddenly gripped my insides and started to suck the oxygen out of me.
As I sat in line, I began to cry — and the tears refused to listen to my thoughts, “stop now — you’ve got to be pleasant; at least get your drink looking decent.” I knew I would be a swollen-eyed mess by the time my drink was handed to me.
When I finally got to the window, I handed the server my card and she said, “no need, that driver ahead of you paid for your drink.”
That’s all she had to say and I balled my eyes out.
I briefly explained to this young girl what I had just experienced and she said, “I hope your day goes better.”
The unknown driver who paid for my drink had no idea how that small intentional gesture brought my heart to its knees.
There is no such thing as a random act of kindness —kindness is intentional.
“She opens her mouth in [skillful and godly] wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue [giving counsel and instruction].” Proverbs 31-26 AMP
You cannot tell me that kindness would just happen without deliberate forethought. It simply is not human nature to be kind — either you were taught and mentored or you sought out the skill and developed the ability to carefully and intentionally use it.
It is my firm belief that kindness, like love, can only be given if possessed. And like joy surpasses happiness, kindness surpasses niceness. There is just something authentic and sincere that sets it apart. And like many of you, witnessing authenticity and sincerity is soul stirring to me — and that’s because such fruit of the Spirit can only come from GOD.
Kindness originated from GOD.
“But when the goodness and kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared [in human form as Man, Jesus Christ],” Titus 3:4 AMP
God’s love for us is indeed intentional, Sister. And so I encourage all of us to live with such intention and deliberately worship Him with lives that pour out intentional love onto a dying world. It is His love through us that draws others towards Him.
My Starbucks moment will forever resonate within me — and I pray that when I do (as I have) intentionally provide that cup of cold water to a thirsty soul, she drinks of the Living Water that quenches the longing within her.
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend.