Today I have been musing over the incredible gift of kindness. It never ceases to amaze me much power is contained in the smallest of things: a laugh, a smile, a kind word. Here are two short stories to illustrate.
Today I got on the elevator in my apartment. There was a middle-aged Korean lady who boarded at the same time. She smiled at me and quietly said, “Hi.” I said, “Annyeonhaseyo.” She asked me how long I’ve been in Korea. I told her I’ve been here almost a year and that I work at a public school, and then she complimented me on my Korean pronunciation. The elevator reached my floor and we parted ways. Our entire interaction lasted around 30 seconds, but she made my day. Kindness is like nuclear density – small, yet powerful.
Yesterday was the last day of the semester at my school. I have developed a rapport with one of the subject teachers, who began working at the school this semester. She is around 60 years old, and doesn’t speak any English, so our interactions have been limited. Towards the end of the day, I was in my classroom, preparing for English camp. The phone rang, and I my initial thought was that it was one of my co-teachers, with a question or request. I sincerely hoped it wouldn’t take too long, because I was very busy. When I answered the phone, I was surprised to find that the person on the other end of the line wasn’t one of my co-teachers, but the aforementioned subject teacher. I only understood about 20-30% of her exact words, but I got the gist of it – she was calling to say goodbye for the semester, asked about English camp, and gave her best wishes for my health and happiness until we see each other again next semester. I was touched once I realized who it was and why she had called. It was only 15-20 seconds, but she made my day. I was beaming after that phone call. God bless her.
Don’t underestimate the power of kindness. It can transcend language barriers, cultural misunderstanding, and the general malaise of a day, a week, or a life.
“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” -Mother Teresa
“What is desirable in a man is his kindness, and it is better to be a poor man than a liar.” -Proverbs 19:22