Racism, sexism, ageism, feminism, legalism, religionism, and a number of other sets we could place people in exist. While many people live by certain or multiple of these -isms, there is one thing that makes us virtually the same. Reactions to kindness. Not all of these reactions are kind, themselves, but I have found in the few places I have recently traveled and shared kindness, that the responses are just the same thousands of miles away. From Pennsylvania to Texas, I have found these responses to be similar to each other across the board. Some of the responses I have received most frequently include smiles, the thumbs up gesture, a nod, an unsure stare, and a seemingly intentional “I’m not looking at you because you want money” stare straight ahead. I’ve actually had people offer me money (Which is very sweet) in many circumstances in Pennsylvania and Texas. I never ask for it, and I never take it. I explain that I am only here to share the message that was so heavily placed on my heart in August of 2014. I have experienced tears from others being so grateful to see those three words, and I have gotten some really great hugs from people I do not even know. Those things are seen in every part of the city of Amarillo that I have been to, so far. They have been seen and experienced in Plano, Texas. I have witnessed those things in Silverdale, Pennsylvania. I have witnessed some unpleasant things and words, but those will not get airtime. It makes my heart sing when people see my signs and smile so big, wave, give a thumbs up, or give me a hug. Folks are not required to do such things, so that makes them more valuable to me when they do them. I get responses from all levels of socioeconomic, racial, gender, political, and religious areas. I have found this to be true from Amarillo, Plano, and Silverdale.
What I do know is that each of us is broken in so many ways by so many different things. There’s not a soul on this earth who does not have a nick or two on his or hear heart. It doesn’t matter why that nick is there. It is. That nick can be painful, scary, and unknown. But, if we understand that everyone has them, maybe we wouldn’t be in such a hurry to judge others with harsh words that only worsen the brokenness. I’ve been guilty of that, and I am not proud of that fact. I’m ashamed I have done so, but I do know that I have come down on people because of MY brokenness. Those aforementioned folks who have done some not-so-nice things have very broken pieces in them. Those who do the nicer things have some very broken pieces in them. WE ALL DO! Some of us have the guidance, awareness, or direction to look inside of ourselves to see and work on that brokenness. Even when we do take a look at it, we often try to put a band-aid on a hatchet wound. We have to look at that stuff in order to grow even more. It’s ugly. It’s painful. It’s dark. If we don’t uncover it, however, it continues to get buried and build on top of the grudge already there. I believe that’s what happens to those who have the unkind responses. Even those with the kindest responses have those, too, but I believe they are somewhat more aware. I could be wrong, and I am totally open to that fact. I just think those who do not give the most universal responses see everything else as dark and entangled as their souls are. How can anyone be doing something for nothing, right?
I never knew what was in store for me, or my heart, when I began doing this sign thing. I never know what will happen from day-to-day or even with each passing vehicle. I just don’t know, but I do know that I AM supposed to be doing this. I am so grateful for all those I have attempted to make eye contact with every single time I am on the street. I am so grateful that I continue to obey what was put on my heart to do. I am so grateful for this opportunity to bring a smile to someone. Or a tear to someone’s eye. I don’t do it for me. I do it to let others know that they are, indeed, important. I do this because God put this on my heart, and He continues to do so.
I will continue to do this until it is put on my heart to do otherwise.
Love is a universal need. Give it freely and see what responses you get back in return without the expectation of getting any response back.
It can change your life.
It’s changed mine.