When Kindness Meets You Where You Are
Some of my fondest memories as a child include the year I was in an elementary school classroom just down the hall from my little brother Ben’s kindergarten classroom. I got to poke my head in and check on him periodically and walk him home from school. Yes, some of the older kids mocked me for this practice. No, it did not discourage me. If you want to see a flicker of fierceness, just mess with my people.
Ben struggled to learn to write his name that year, a task my mom enlisted my help with. I will never forget the mix of pride, exhilaration, and joy the first time the letters B-E-N were legibly scratched out on a sheet of paper in my room.
Having been born prematurely and once proclaimed unlikely to ever walk or talk, I still remember the jubilation that occurred as our household gathered and celebrated Ben’s much delayed and yet, miraculous first steps. He’s been doing all the things they said he’d never do ever since.
And yes, my older brother and I did talk him into letting us drop him down the laundry shoot, to land three floors below on a pile of dirty laundry as my mom switched the clothes from the washer to the dryer, but I promise, he’s always owned my heart.
Roughly seven years ago, he walked me down the aisle as I prepared to say my wedding vows. As the ceremony grew closer and my nerves grew wilder, my brother, maid of honor and I stood waiting and singing praise songs together.
And yesterday, I got the news my sweet, overcoming brother had been hit by a car. At first, the details were sketchy. I knew my mom, who he lives with was away on travel and my baby sister had received the dreaded, “Your brother has been hit. Please come to the hospital” call. I knew she’d taken that drive, not knowing if he was dead or alive.
It seems she arrived to find a very alive Ben, writhing in pain. My mom was in the air, flying to her boy and I was 4596898456794867 miles away while the people I love were filled with fear and racked with pain. What a wretched feeling.
Finally, late in the evening, with my mom, brother and sister gathered together in the hospital room, I was able to speak with them and piece the story together. It brought me to my knees.
You see, upon hearing my brother’s voice I began sobbing. I was blubbering about how sorry I was he was hurting and I wasn’t there, that he was in so much pain. And he said, “Don’t cry Stace, it’s okay.” And then he proceeded to tell me about what a miracle it was he’s still alive. He told me about how he’d been riding along on his bike when an SUV hit him and knocked him into oncoming traffic. Lying there, on the burning pavement, unable to move, a construction worker appeared from nowhere. The man instructed Ben to stay still, noting he was too injured to move. He wanted to know if my brother needed something cold to drink? He did.
The recounting of this simple act of fetching cold water reduced me to sobs. You see, I couldn’t get to my brother. I couldn’t ease his pain. When he was lying there on the pavement, unable to move, I didn’t even know yet. But a stranger did what I could not. His kindness met my brother where he was.
I’m part of an online community that is precious to me, a sisterhood. As soon as I heard about my brother, before I had pieced any of the information together, the members, from across the nation were rushing towards me offering what they had. Where did my brother live? What hospital was he in? What did my family need?
Right there, they found me and they offered me a cold cup of water. Their kindness met me where I was. I sometimes think maybe they’ve figured out, that in this world, we’re all brothers and sisters, people who matter so deeply.
Can I challenge you today to let your kindness meet someone where they are? What you can offer may seem so small, but I promise you, it doesn’t feel so to the one lying on the pavement.May kindness meet us where we are today. Click To Tweet