What is Average?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average family size is currently 3.14 people. There is nothing average about that. How do you have a .14th of a person? My husband and I once had an averaged sized family, one son and one daughter. That was when I was writing the story . . .
Then I gave God the pen.

Our Yearly Tradition: Leavenworth After Christmas

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kindness and Compassion Search for Opportunities

I don’t usually answer the phone at our coffee shop. You’ll find me in the backroom doing paperwork, checking inventory and placing orders. On this particular day, however, I answered the phone. Greeting the person on the other end, I asked how I could help her. She asked to speak to our manager. He had left for the day, so I told her I could take a message.

She asked me if I was the owner, and I replied that I was. It caused me some concern! What could have possibly happened to warrant a call from a customer? Did her mocha taste bad? My racing mind relaxed as she began her story.

“I went to your coffee shop for the first time today with a friend, and the experience we had with your employees changed my day! I had just come from an appointment with hospice care and we decided we needed some coffee and found your shop. Your staff gave us an experience that lifted my spirits! They didn’t have any idea of my situation. But the greeting they gave to me and my friend was grandiose! And the conversation we bantered in completely took my mind off the inevitable – that I’m dying. Please pass on my deepest thanks to both of them. They changed my day.”

I was speechless for a moment, then caught my composure and offered her my deepest sympathy. She told me that death is a given. We all are going to face it one day. Her day was just going to be sooner than she had hoped for. As I hung up the phone, the tasks that had captivated my focus and had argued for my attention were now a blur in the background.

This was a divine appointment that changed my perspective. I didn’t catch what her name was, but her story caught me and taught me: We aren’t guaranteed a tomorrow! We aren’t even guaranteed to finish out the remainder of the day! Each moment is a gift. Therefore, life should be lived as if each day were our last day – with purpose and passion! With kindness and compassion!

I thought about what I could do to make a difference in the lives of people whose paths crossed with mine. Kindness does not look for reasons. Compassion does not ask for limitations. Both search for opportunities. That day I challenged myself to be intentional in searching for opportunities to be the smile that someone needs or the encouragement that someone is longing for.

Every person has a story. Some have an event going on in their lives that is bringing them an indescribable heartache. Others may be in great need of forgiveness or they may simply desire to be included. When we recognize the value of each individual and extend ourselves in a warm and caring way, it will change their day. And in turn, it will change our lives.