It’s Thinking out Loud Thursday with Penny’s Passion. Today I’m thinking about my Lenten Kindness Challenge. Remember that? (Link to original post here.) Friends, I have to be honest here. I started out strong but like a New Year’s Resolution, after a couple of weeks I kind of started fizzling out. The days have been long and stressful. The three year old has been threenager-ing hard. The calendar has been full to the brim. All these things left me tired and uninspired and I just didn’t keep up the way I wanted to. Excuses, excuses, right?
As it’s Holy Week and Lent is coming to a close this week I started thinking about how I felt like I failed my challenge. One of the biggest things I wanted to do was show Ollie how to be kind to others. But then, I started thinking more and realized maybe I didn’t fail after all thanks to our weekly trips to Caribou Coffee.
Each week we go over to Caribou on Saturday (and often Sunday) morning to get coffee and a breakfast treat. We usually sit and hang out for a bit, especially if our next destination isn’t open right away. We’ve been doing this since Ollie was just over a year old. When he was about a year and a half old, we started running into a guy we’ve known since high school that we’ll call Smiley. Smiley is mentally disabled and just the kindest, sweetest person. He recognized us right away and became instantly smitten with Oliver. We see him there pretty much every week as he hangs out at Caribou until he can go across the street to a GameStop store. Over time we’ve developed a little friendship with him, we’ve learned he plays on a Special Olympics hockey team, he goes bowling with his group home and he has a job at an auto parts store. He loves the MN Wild and the Vikings. One day a couple of weeks ago we brought a game with us to play with Ollie because we were running way early before a place we wanted to go would be open. Smiley asked if he could come and join us and so we let him play a couple of rounds of the game and he was so pleased. So where am I going with this? I realized, other people would probably look the other way when he says hi to them. Other people might get frustrated by his enthusiasm. We’ve never thought anything of it, we’ve always been kind to him. I realized we’re teaching Oliver tolerance and kindness to others, even those who might be a little different than us. We do this without even thinking twice about it. Ollie always notices if Smiley isn’t around and he always says “maybe we’ll see him next time!” Maybe I haven’t done so bad here after all.
The whole point of the kindness challenge was to do something kind each day – sometimes just small simple things. After thinking about our relationship with Smiley I started thinking about other things I do each day without even thinking about it or even realizing that I’ve done. Pretty soon I realized, I didn’t need a “challenge” to live a life of kindness. I think I was already there.