For those that have no idea what Day Five means... catch up here: Day One, Day Two, Day Three and Day Four. For those of you who know and have followed my 31 day journey in doing something life-giving throughout the month of October (instead of hovering just above the emotional poverty line), thank you so much for reading and supporting me. So many people have come out of the woodwork to offer kind words of encouragement, stories about how my brother's life impacted theirs, and my favorite... some have even joined in and started doing their own acts of kindness!
My original plan for Day Five was to give a kind gift to my friend Abby. She once asked me to go to a Starbucks and order my coffee and when they ask for my name, say "Primrose Everdeen." Then, when my coffee is ready and they call out "Primrose Everdeen" I would yell "I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute!" (*This is a reference to the wildly popular book/movies series, The Hunger Games. If you do not know what I am referring to, then you should ask the google about pop culture.)
While I reeaaallly wanted to do this, I kinda came to the conclusion that it wouldn't really count because it is more an act of hilarity than an act of kindness. See I can do hilarious. Or sarcastic. I can even do somber. Maybe November can be Random Acts of Hilarity and Bitterness... but, we are still in October and I am supposed to be kind. Not hilarious.
So, I decided that since I was meeting my friend Courtney for coffee at Starbucks that I would donate the remaining couple of bucks on my gift card to the most unpleasant customer. Now, after the cheese vat incident yesterday... I have learned that I do not like to choose who gets the kindness. In the future, I will either bring enough kindness for everyone, or I will make someone else the judge of worthiness. Today's judge was the barista. I gave her my gift card and a note that said "Hope you have a great day! Pay it forward!" and asked her to apply the remaining amount to the total of somebody who seems like they are having a bad day.
I was only ever accused of being pleasant one time in my life. I was actually engaged once before Tom and I were together. (Gasp! I know right, so much scandal!) Anyways... I was engaged to a guy with a lovely family and I felt really sure that I should be, and could be, a very lovely gal. I tried very hard to be lovely and pleasant and a gentle, quiet spirit. It did not go well. There was this one occasion, though, that I overheard one of this guy's family members describe me as "pleasant."
What!? It was one of those moments when I realized... these people have no idea who I am. I am a LOT of things. Some good, some bad, some... lovely even. I can tell you right now though, I am not pleasant. I'm just not. The people who know me best, who love me best, would not use the word pleasant to describe me. It just isn't me. I have too much heaviness in this heart and I am too honest and too sassy to ever be accused of such a thing..... and honestly I am fine with that.
So, when I envisioned the person who really needed a random act of kindness... I couldn't bring myself to wish it upon somebody who is already pleasant. I wanted to brighten the day of someone who had some sort of crack in their day, a crack that was big enough for the patience and pleasantness to just sort of seep right out, leaving a frazzled (and maybe even crabby) customer behind.
I am not pleasant. Maybe when I grow up I will be, but for now, I will settle for real. So, to the man or woman who was deemed unpleasant enough to receive Day Five's Random Act of Kindness... I salute you. You are in process, you are struggling, you are in good company!
I can't help but consider my faith in all this. I can't separate the notion of random, undeserved kindness from the cross. Jesus himself said that He came not for those who are well, but for the sick. I am a sick, sick woman, and I am keenly aware of my need for the undeserved kindness of Christ's substitutionary death. Maybe I am not pleasant, but I know the cracks in my heart that allow the joy and peace and love to seep out, and I know that they are being healed as I go through this month reflecting on what has been given to me. Perhaps living in light of this gift, and in response to it, will, in time, make me pleasant after all.
May the odds be ever in our favor.