Sunday mornings are usually for gathering with our Big Table community unless it’s a fifth Sunday in the month and then we don’t gather in the usual place. This particular Sunday we were gathering later in the day for a pizza feast with friends, so a morning in PJ’s was on the family “to do list”.
My 11-year-old daughter has turned into both a Kids YouTube fan and an amateur project manager. It goes like this: watch a YouTube video (fan) and then gather the neighbourhood friends and make them copy it with you (project manager). Today, she and her bestie had a plan. My involvement was minimal. I just needed to shower, change and drive them to the local shopping centre. I wasn’t keen.
She had raided her money box and with $20, a handful of cut-out “happiness quotes” and some washi tape (of the decorative kind), we were headed to the local Westfield. I parked off on a bench outside Coles.
For the next half hour, I watched them give out a single yellow rose, with a quote attached to it, to complete strangers. I’ve seen it done on social media videos but never witnessed it in real life. The spiel went something like this:
“Good morning, my friend and I are doing something called “random acts of kindness”, would you accept this gift from me?”
One shopkeeper asked them what they needed in return, and I could see on the girl’s faces that it gave them great joy to express that nothing was needed in return for kindness! Ten single flowers were distributed without discrimination or favour to whomever they came across who was willing to accept their gift.
It was as though their little acts of kindness were infiltrating a seemingly ordinary Sunday morning.
The last act was to give a whole bunch of flowers away, and the recipient’s beaming smile told a thousand words! He grabbed his wife and his trolley, and they headed out the double doors towards the rest of their day.
It was fun to watch.
The girls were giddy with excitement about being brave enough to approach strangers and they were never disappointed with the reaction that they got.
As we were leaving and chatting about some of the cool things that happened, a man approached me. He explained that his wife had received a flower. He felt that he needed to let me know just how much it meant to her. They had lost their two adult daughters to illness, and they were having a rough time. He said to me “what seemed so simple to them made a big difference to us – so thank you”.
I had a few thoughts as we headed to the car park.
I couldn’t believe that I had initially begrudged driving them here. They taught me what it looks like to BE the church that fifth Sunday. Today it didn’t look like a worship team, a sermon or a Sunday school lesson. Today it looked like sacrificing some pocket money and buying a bunch of flowers.
Too many times, we have our ideas about what community looks like, what kindness should feel like, and to whom it should be extended.
Sometimes you just have to BE the kindness.
Sometimes you have to let the kids show you how.