THE SHOCK OF KINDNESS

Sometimes I am shocked when someone is really nice to me. I think I am not the only one who feels this way. I’ve seen it on people’s faces when I have done them a kindness they didn’t expect. As a Christian Matthew 6 prevents me from talking about how I have been kind to others so I will confine myself to kindness others have done to me.

I think the shock is very important. Seeing it on others’ faces is one of the most gratifying feelings one can ever experience. This is not necessarily about giving people physical objects. Sometimes what creates the shock is sticking with them when both of you know you have no obligation to be with them. But you are still there. After that moment, there is a change in your relationship. In this case, I am talking about being kind to someone you are familiar with, like a friend. I don’t have many close friends, but with the few I have I can look back and point to the time our friendship got cemented.

When you cross that milestone with a friend, all distrust dissolves. You get the point instinctively that this person cares for your wellbeing. That’s the stuff that matters most. Any lasting friendship is built on trust. So the moment that you come to the shocking understanding that someone will be there for you, because he has been there for you, that’s when you find a kindred spirit. There is no pressure. You don’t even have to make conversation. There is no need for pretence. You are just comfortable in each others presence. You just look at them, and they look at you, and you both smile for no reason at all. This is love.

It’s natural to think about people’s motives when they do good. People often have ulterior motives, but at some point you realise they have no motive other than to see you happy. This is not being naive. We feel this because sometimes we also try to be kind without no motive. We just want to be good for goodness sake! We want to see someone happy. It’s hard to explain this to someone who is cynical because it’s all projecting.

One time I had a free ride on Christmas when I was late for church. I didn’t know the rider from anywhere. He was on a motorcycle, and had not waved the bike. All I knew was that I was late. So I hopped on and later said thank you.

Another time, I boarded public transport on my way from high school only to realize that I had lost my wallet. Although I later found the wallet, an albino man who in time past thought we, students, made a lot of noise in the bus offered to pay for me. He actually did pay.

I have lost my wallet twice. Both times they were returned to me. I have been using that same wallet for about five years. It was a gift from my dad.

A colleague at university gave me his laptop for an indefinite period to do my project work. I didn’t know when I would be done. He didn’t bother even though he might have needed it to study.

I took a writing to one of my English lecturers to edit for me. She did it for me freely without complaint. She did such a thorough work that I decided to have her as a friend.

Another friend gave me an apartment to live in at some point of difficulty.

These are just from the top of my head. If I continue I may relate a hundred more. But that is not necessary. The point I want to make is that if we are not cynical, people will shock us with their kindness. If we look carefully we would find many of such examples in our lives. Instead of being miserable and involved with ourselves, we should try to shock others with our kindness too. We should also make room in our heart to be shocked by the kindness of others. We cannot do this if we do not count our blessings.

Thank you for reading.

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