“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2 NASB)
It was a sweltering day in late Summer. I was a young dad working in a local lumber mill. It was dangerous, back-breaking work that paid very little. In the year I had worked there only four other people hadn’t quit and been replaced with new faces. Those of us who stayed did so only because there was no other work to find to support our families.
On this day the fans weren’t working and all of us were covered in sweat and sawdust. When I looked around every face I saw looked angry and frustrated. Suddenly, a voice called out: “Hey! There’s a deer in here.” A lost little doe had wandered through the open loading bay doors and was now cowering in between the huge stacks of lumber. All of us stopped working and went looking for her as she ran about frantically looking for a way out.
Now most people where I live hunt deer for meat in the Fall but also treat them with great kindness the rest of the year. Many will even buy 50lb bags of corn to help feed them during the harsh Winter months. It was no surprise then that all of us were soon quickly working together to free this little doe. By blocking off all the other routes we were able to guide her frantic search back to the open bay doors. We watched as she bounded out the building and back into the woods. Then we walked back in to work. I noticed something, though. On every face there was a joyful smile. It was as if this one single act of kindness had energized us again and reminded us of what life is all about.
The Quaker author, Parker Palmer once wrote: “Committing acts of kindness shows us the power that we have-over ourselves and our choices, and over whether this world is a cruel or wondrous place to live.” I would add that they also bring us closer to love and closer to God. Fill your day and your life with acts of kindness then. Let them flow from your soul. Let them warm your heart. Let them light up your life. Let them lead you to love. Every kind act we do is a step towards Heaven. Every kind act we do helps us to become the people we were meant to be. From sharing a smile to rescuing a lost little deer, kindness can become a way of life for us all.
Joseph J. Mazzella