Taking My Shoes Off

This was not my best December.

There was not enough quiet, not enough grandchildren, not enough coffee with Bob in the early morning, not enough words with McKenzie, or conversation across a table with friends.

And my blog assignment – “Small Acts of Kindness” – seemed to be a long stretch to capture any acts of kindness during this season.

Melanie Shankle writes, “God uses the smallest acts of faithfulness to love and influence the people around us.

Maybe you have had the small acts of kindness visited on you and you were not even aware, maybe you thought you deserved it, maybe you thought the person was just being nice.

Maybe you were the people Elizabeth Barret Browning wrote about in her poem,

“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”

To see small acts of kindness you have to be more aware of others than yourself, to take off your shoes because you are standing on holy ground.

Our God uses the smallest acts of faithfulness to show His love to us; open your eyes.

So I opened the eyes of my memories of this season.

I witnessed an uncommonly loving small act of kindness at Christmas dinner with Bob’s family.

His sister and brother-in-law have no children and therefore have very little experience with interacting with little ones.

Our brother-in-law, Pepper, was sitting a little apart from the rest of the family after dinner. He and Lora, Bob’s sister, had just given Mary Marshall her “bestest” gift of Christmas, one that she had been eagerly waiting for all day. Santa had not brought it to her house. It was not wrapped under my tree, but Aunt Lora came through.

It was a white fur cape that matched the white fur cape of her doll that Santa had brought her. Moshie put the cape on and wore it all afternoon.

I looked around and there was my granddaughter who has her uncle Robby’s big heart, leaning into Pepper showing him her doll with her sparkly blue dress with the white cape and even a tiara to match the cape and tiara that Mary Marshall wore.

She was deep into conversation with this CPA controlling partner in one of the largest firms in the state, telling about her doll and the clothes and the closet with the hangers and the sleeping bag.

She told Pepper to hold her doll, which he did a little awkwardly, while she adjusted the doll’s tiara.

And then she said “Thank you Uncle Pepper. I love this cape and I love you” and she hugged him.

I don’t know if my brother-in-law understood he had received a small act of kindness, but his smile was worth it.

Sometimes a small act of kindness is hard stop in a pity party you threw for yourself as it was one Sunday morning for me. It had not been a good morning. It had not been a good week. It definitely had not been a good month.

To say I was out of sorts was putting it mildly; I was walking into SMC with a full out pouting, whining, attitude. “Me” was the only person on my mind and I was making a list of all the wrongs I had faced.

Walking into the service I was in no mind to “play nice” and smile, but one person, who I really don’t know well, put herself in front of me and blocked my entrance.

“I just had to say thank you for sharing and standing by Bob in his ministry at SMC. You have been such a blessing to this church and community.”

It was just what I needed, I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit, “it isn’t about you Susan”.

I burst into tears and of course the nice lady started crying and was worried she had said something wrong.

I just said that she wasn’t aware, but she had been used by the Spirit to bring me into line and I thanked her.

Her words were a small act of kindness; God uses the smallest acts of faithfulness to love and influence the people around us.

“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I’ve found, it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.”

Words spoken by the Wizard Grandalf in The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

To see those small good deeds you have to open your eyes and become aware of the holy ground.