As many readers here know, we often discuss what the world would be like without judgment.
I was just over at the 13 Graces blog and was looking at some of her link resources. I clicked on “One Kind Act” and found a post on something I have been struggling to articulate. Below is part of the post, I would encourage you to go read more:
“The story below is a true testament to the power of kindness, it really shows what one simple act of kindness can do, and it also reminds us that kindness can show up in many different ways!
Remember to be kind to someone today!
One Person at a Time
By Jon Gordon
“Can I have some money so I can catch the bus home,” the woman said to me as I walked down
Michigan Ave in Chicago last week. I had just spoken at a conference and was enjoying a several hour evening walk around one of my favorite cites- experiencing the energy and buzz of the big city.
I gave the woman a few dollars as she walked in step with me. “Do you know where the book store is,” I asked. “A few blocks ahead,” she said as she continued to walk with me. “I’m not really taking the bus you know,” she said.
“I figured that,” I told her.
“I live on the streets.””Why,” I asked.
“Because I just got out of prison for selling drugs,” she told me, “and I’m on parole so I can’t leave to be with my family who lives in another city.”
At first I wasn’t sure if I believed her but something inside me told me she was telling the truth. “I told you I was taking the bus,” she continued, “because a woman just told me I wasn’t dirty enough to give money to. So I had to come up with something else.” “It doesn’t matter to me,” I told her. “I give money all the time to homeless people. I used to ignore them thinking they would just spend it on alcohol but then one day I decided that what they do with the money I give is between them and God. I give to give and that’s between me and God.”
“Well, I’ll use it for a good purpose,” she said. “I’m trying to get my life together.” “You’re in pain, aren’t you,” I asked as we continued to walk. “Yes,” she said as tears started to well up in her eyes. “I figure I’m suffering right now for all I have done wrong.”
“You don’t have to suffer. Now begins the first day of your life. You’re not meant to suffer from what you have done wrong.” You are meant to learn from the past so you can create a better life and future for yourself. You’ve suffered enough. Now it’s time to forgive yourself and ask for forgiveness.”
“Are you a preacher or something,” she asked with tears coming down her face? “No,” I responded, laughing. “Honestly,” I said, “I’ve been inspired by the life of Jesus and the way he lived. I just try to love others in the same way. Not perfect by any means but I strive.” “Well you should be a preacher,” she said, “because I’ve never listened to any other preacher before.”
We then reached the book store, stopped for a moment and I gave her twenty dollars to enjoy a nice meal. But as I was about to say goodbye I turned and asked her into the book store with me so I could buy her one of my books. She agreed and we walked around the book store and sure enough there was one copy left. Then we walked over to the spiritual section and I had the impulse to also get her another book. As we stood there looking at all the books I heard a man and woman around the corner talking about love, forgiveness and God. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I went up to them and asked for their help in picking out a good book for this woman.
As they started sharing various books she might like I stood in complete awe of this moment. Three strangers, picking out a book for a homeless woman that could change her life forever. It was a miracle moment I’ll never forget.
The choice came down to two books and then I asked her, “Which one is speaking to you?” A huge smile came over her face as she pointed continuously to a book by Pastor TD Jakes. Then something interesting happened. I didn’t know where the checkout counter was but she did. She knew where everything in the book store was.
Then it hit me. “You’ve been here before,” I asked. “Yes,” she said. “I read a lot in the park during the day.” “So you use the money you collect from people like me to buy books,” I asked?
“Yes, books and food,” she said. “But these books will always be my favorite.” We walked outside and she gave me a big spontaneous hug goodbye.
As I walked down the street back towards my beautiful, expensive hotel I felt guilty for not doing more. I felt ashamed for wanting to wash my hands after she hugged me with her dirty jacket. I thought of the look on her face and the tears in her eyes and felt both her hope and sorrow. The experience touched me in the deepest part of my soul. I stopped to sit on a park bench and broke down and cried.
Please know that I tell you this story not to shine a light on me but to hopefully inspire you to reach out to a stranger and lend a helping hand and make a difference, somehow, someway. It is so overwhelming when we think of all the pain in the world and yet if we all do something we can accomplish a lot. This experience has inspired me to do more and I will.”