Reflections to start the week
Monday, April 27, 2015
Make haste to be kind
The text read as follows:
“Hello. I’m a flight attendant with American Airlines. I found your sketch book on my outbound flight today. I will be sending it out in the mail, hopefully on Friday, assuming I can get to the post office. Otherwise I’ll send it on Monday.”
One of my spiritual, centering practices is to carry a small sketch book. I try to do at least one drawing a day. It’s a kind of a journal, a way of paying attention. I started with a fresh sketch book at the beginning of Lent, a discipline that helped me carve out a bit of time each day to be mindful, to notice. Because I’m on airplanes a lot, because those airplanes get delayed a lot, which means I sit at the gate a lot, as do other people who sit relatively still a lot, which makes them really easy to draw, my sketch book is filled with drawings of cranky, bored, sleepy people in airports. Below the drawings are often snarky comments about how poorly the airlines are doing their job. Some of them may even be unkind.
On a flight last week, I left my black sketchbook in the pocket of the seat in front of me. It disappeared into the darkness of the cabin as the plane landed late at night. I had the fear that I had lost this important record for good. The chronicle of my recent travels, on many pages marked by a certain degree of frustration and unhappiness was gone. Just one more way that the airlines had done me wrong.
And then the next morning I got this text from a flight attendant, who in a small act of kindness, found my phone number in the sketchbook and went out of her way to tell me it would be returning. I wrote her in response, thanking her for kindness to strangers, a small unconditional gift, a moment of grace. She wrote back and said she liked the drawings. I probably should have apologized for snarky content.
I’m glad to be getting the sketch book back. But I’m also grateful for this interaction, grateful to be on the receiving end of this considerate act. It makes me think about how I might do the same for someone else (and perhaps also give the airline folks a break).
I have no idea what this day, this week will bring. But I guarantee it already contains the opportunity to offer some small act of kindness, some unanticipated moment of grace. Ask God to show you what that might be. Notice. Be mindful, aware, alert for the chance to lift someone’s spirit, maybe to help them find or recover something they’d lost. Maybe they have lost something like a sketchbook. Maybe they’ve lost more: hope, or relationship, or courage. Help them find it. It’s part of what it means to be a disciple, as the reading from I John suggests (see below). It calls us to love not only in word or speech, but in action and truth.
Live out the blessing we often say in church (also in the column on the left). Be swift to love. Make haste to be kind. We have limited time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us.
– Jay Sidebotham
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. -I John 3
Rev. Jay Sidebotham
RenewalWorks is a ministry of Forward Movement.