Generosity, Kindness and Love
Choose generosity. Show kindness. Love others without needing to receive anything in return. That’s what I learned, through water bottles and urgent care.
I remember hearing the sadness in his voice, “but that’s half my paycheck.”
I knew he was trying to be discreet. But between his loud coughing, and because I was the only other person in the waiting room, I heard almost the entire conversation.
The woman behind the desk started again with her apologies that because he didn’t have the correct insurance card, he would need to pay the cash rate, which she gave.
I wasn’t upset with her. She was only doing her job. Just like the airline employees who make you re-pack your luggage because you are 1 pound over. Or the theater attendants who think they aren’t making money off you if you bring a drink into the building. They’re just doing their jobs. I get it.
And this man clearly could not afford the pay the cash rate at the urgent care facility. My heart went out to him.
And then I heard, “you should pay for his visit.”
It was a thought so startling that I almost jumped. For it wasn’t an audible voice, and I was the only other person in the room. It was coming from inside my heart. And then an inner dialogue started up:
“You don’t know his story. Clearly he’s sick. He just said the cash rate was half of what he brings home in a week,” said the voice.
“Clearly,” I argued back, scanning his clothes and shoes. (Yep, I was sitting high on my horse this day!)
“But, I probably don’t have that much in our flex account,” I thought quickly.
“I’m wasn’t talking about the flex account, Malinda,” the voice hit back.
I swallowed hard. I knew it was the truth.
“But I don’t have an envelope for paying-for-strangers-medical-bills!” I whined.
Just joking. Thought I’d throw some Dave Ramsey humor in there.
I heard the prompting again, “offer to pay the bill, Malinda.”
Call it my conscience, or the fact that I’d been facing an illness of my own for over a week. Call it or whatever you want. I believe it was God prompting me.
But sadly, I ignored it.
I looked away from the man 10 feet away and back at the book in my lap.
Then the man left. Without having seen a doctor. With no help in hand, while I sat, alone, in the now-quiet waiting room. And I knew as soon as the door closed that I had missed my moment.
Not to be a hero, or have some good writing material. Not to appease my “do-gooder” self (we all have one.)
What I missed was the opportunity to choose generosity. To show kindness and mercy. To love someone else without needing to receive anything in return.
I wasted my chance to be a blessing to that man. And for the rest of the day I felt the weight of that failed moment.
See, I believe that these moments are given often. Sometimes in big ways, but often it’s in the day-to-day choices, like giving a bottle of water to someone in need.
Last night while walking back to our car after a wonderful family outing, my kids (and I) were complaining we were thirsty. The vending machine stated $3.25 for a bottle of water. But our wallets were empty after being out for a full day. We walked past the machine and headed towards our car, when someone behind us said, “Do you need a water, I’ve got some.” It was a dad and son also walking back to their car, only 20 feet away. I watched him pull 3 bottles of water from the trunk and hand them to my husband.
One simple act of generosity. Of kindness. Of love.
I wondered if that man knew Jesus, because that’s exactly what Jesus would have done. Offering a bottle of water, without wanting any payment, or anything, in return.
So, unfortunately this isn’t one of those feel good posts where I give you an amazing example from my life and tell you to go do something similar. Rather, please do the opposite of what I did. And do it well.
When the opportunity is presented, take it. Choose to be the miracle to the person in front of you. Regardless of what you think of them, or what you think they’ll do with your money, or how different your political or religious beliefs may be. Whether it’s paying for groceries, talking to the homeless person, or signing a generous check, please don’t make my mistake. Don’t waste your moment.
To be honest, I did spend a good part of that day sad because I knew that I had not been obedient. I missed a God-sized moment to bless someone. But, you better believe that my ears are more eager to hear the next prompting. My eyes are purposefully opened wider than they were before that day. I am expectantly watching for ways to bless others. Not to make up for something in the past, because God doesn’t keep score like that.
But because I know that’s what we are to do. Be generous. Offer kindness. Give love away.