I don’t know why the man started talking to me.
The kids had just opened their Chick-fil-a meals when I noticed the elderly man at the table next to us. He sat alone.
He leaned over and said hello. We exchanged pleasantries, which turned to small talk, and before long he was telling me where he grew up.
He mentioned he’s a WWII vet. “So was my grandfather,” I said. He picked up his ice cream and joined us at our table.
In the span of just a few minutes, I learned his name is John. He has two sons. And he’d been married to the love of his life for 65 years.
She had passed away just eight months ago.
His eyes welled up with tears as he described what a wonderful woman she was, what a special love they shared, and how lonely it is without her.
This man of 90-something-years, who’d gone to war at 18… who’d seen things he couldn’t speak of… who’d loved – and been loved by – a good woman his whole life… and who’d just buried that woman only months ago… Do you know what this man said to me?
“The Lord has been so kind to me.”
The kindness of God is the part of His character that continually gives me pause. He is huge. He is powerful. He is mighty. And still, He is kind. It doesn’t mean He makes everything in my life easy. It means when the brokenness of this world invades my life and things get decidedly NOT EASY — He is THERE.
I find myself encouraging my kids to be KIND to one another. Not just nice. Right or wrong, the word “nice” sounds shallow to me. I don’t really care to be a nice person. I want to be a kind person. Kindness, to me, implies a depth of heart, a sense of compassion.
The Lord says, “How can I give you up?… My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.” (Hosea 11:8)
Take a few minutes to watch this video. It’s a song from our church. Not surprisingly, my favorite line is, “Your kindness makes me stronger.”
I realize I’m writing about the kindness of God – our Heavenly Father. And, while I also have an amazing earthly father, I must acknowledge I don’t know what kind of father you’ve had. I don’t know if he’s been kind to you.
I really hope he has been.
Here’s what I do know: your Heavenly Father says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
Have you experienced the Lord’s kindness?
I certainly have. It does my heart good to remember.
I don’t know why that old man started talking to me. But gosh, I’m so glad he did.