I’m chomping at the bit for the start of season 3 of our You Were Made for This podcast. Only 7 more days to January 22 when we’re back on the air!
But in the meantime, I recently experienced an example of Colossians 3:12 (…clothe yourself with…kindness) I want to tell you about. Hopefully it inspires you as it did me. It all happened in the dark before sunrise.
A month or so ago I cancelled my newspaper subscription because the price went way up. Then 30 days later I got an email from the publisher with an “introductory” subscription offer for close to the same price I was paying. So I signed up for it, and a few days later my newspaper reappeared in the box below our mailbox, just as it always had before. This time with a hand-written note scribbled in red ink in the top margin of the paper.
I wasn’t sure why at the time, but this handwritten note from the delivery person brightened my day. So that evening I tore off the margin of the paper with the note, and wrote one of my own next to it.
“Thank you, it’s good to be back.”
I put it in an envelope, and taped it to the opening of the newspaper box so the delivery person would be sure to see it the next morning. A few days later I got another hand-written note, again in the top margin of the newspaper.
“Thank you for your thoughtful and encouraging note :)”
This got me thinking more about my interaction with this someone I’ve never met, this someone whose name and gender I don’t know, this someone I will call Pat.
Why did such an interchange between two strangers, who don’t even know what each other looks like, become meaningful to me? I wondered about this for several days, which led me to speculate about Pat.
No one delivers newspapers in the hours before sunrise as a full-time job, so this must be a way for Pat to earn extra money. I wonder why he needs the money. Christmas is over, no gifts to buy. But I bet there are bills to pay Pat’s household income can’t quite cover. So she gets a job that robs her of needed sleep to make ends meet. I was like that once, where for several years I needed an extra part-time job to pay our bills. It wasn’t fun.
Pat’s initial “Welcome back” note tells me he is a people-person who gets virtually no human interaction delivering morning newspapers while the rest of the world still sleeps. I can’t imagine there’s much job satisfaction to Pat’s job. It has to be about the extra money.
But here with the first issue of my new subscription, Pat engages me with her “Welcome back” scribbled note. I finally realized why this simple act of kindness lifted my spirits that day.
It was because Pat remembered me.
Pat had clothed herself with the kindness Paul talks about in Colossians 3:12. Kindness clothed in remembering.
He remembered I used to be a customer who had fallen away, but had now returned to the fold. Pat remembered who I was, even though what I was was merely a newspaper subscriber he was assigned to service. She remembered I was a human being, just like her, and because of this we are connected.
There’s something powerful about people remembering us, even if it's just to recall a superficial connection we have with each other. It eases the loneliness we may feel. It’s an act of kindness.
And it’s all about remembering.
I suspect Pat may have felt the same way with my “Thank you, it’s good to be back” note to him. Remembering details of another person's life has the power to encourage us when we most need it.
What about you? Is there any stranger – or even a friend – you can encourage today by simply remembering something about them, and letting them know it?