Finding Kindness
by Erin Prewitt on March 17th, 2015

I witnessed several random acts of compassion today.  It was early in the morning, and I was working outside. I noticed a man across the street behaving erratically, he was all by himself, disheveled, swaying from side to side and seemed to be chatting to himself.  From my vantage point his behavior stood out; I’ll admit I found him a bit worrisome. 
Bottom-line this gentleman made me nervous, I went out of my way to not to make eye contact with him, instead I focused on my laptop.  What followed was unexpected, and gave me a lesson in compassion.  This lesson challenged my knee-jerk response and reminds me to observe and appreciate random acts of humanity that can be beheld by simply walking our streets. 
As the man lingered in front of a building, I saw an older man tip his hat.  The man that tipped his hat did not seem phased by the other gentleman’s constant self-talk and swaying.  The older gentleman even asked him, “How is your day?”  I watched as the gentleman turned and in a loud, punchy voice said, “Not bad. You?”  The older man responded quietly, “I am having a great day, thank you for asking.” 
Within a few minutes two other men walked by and greeted the swaying man.
I watched in astonishment as one person after another greeted the man as they entered the building.  A lady waved as she walked by; acknowledging this gentleman's presence.  Another person provided him a cigarette. 
I only watched for a short amount of time, maybe 30-45 minutes…but in that short amount of time I saw that the majority of the people that passed this man engaged in some sort of greeting with him, many stopped and chatted. 
I began to feel ashamed of myself, more so with each person that greeted the man.  I was ashamed because my response was to be repelled by the gentleman’s behavior.  I wanted to avoid him, not greet him.  I was off-put by his behavior, while all these strangers seemed to do the opposite.  I sat there mentally beating myself up for my unkind response.  My struggle was internal; no one knew because I sat quietly keeping to myself.  But I did, and I was ashamed.  I sat with feeling of shame long after the gentleman walked away, until I realized something that brought a smile to my face.  I was the outlier!  My response to this gentleman was the uncommon response.  Where I pulled back in discomfort, most others leaned in with kindness.  I found myself reassured in humanity. 
I speak and write of kindness all the time, and yet today I was clearly the student who was taught a beautiful lesson of the kindness and decency shown by a handful of strangers.  This reminds me that many of us talk about or teach what we really need to learn.  One of mine is kindness, what is yours?

Posted in not categorized    Tagged with Kindness, Personal Growth, Love, Awaken, Beautiful, Learn, Grace, Homeless, Widow, Awareness, Random Acts of Kindness, Humanity, Lesson, Strangers, Inspirational, Mindfulness, Possibility, Self Empowerment, Pass it on, Overcome, Advocate, Adversity, Give, Forgive, Grow


Leave a Comment