I got flipped off the other day.
Which I am sure is something that does not sounds terribly monumental, but it isn’t something that happens to me often. And believe it or not, I have never flipped anybody off.
It was 1:30 in the morning and my dad and I had just sprinted across the terminal parkway to catch our shuttle. Well, he sprinted. I half jogged, half ran trying to stay close. A pretty common sight for our traveling adventures.
We made it to the line, which was oddly packed considering the time. As it moved forward, two guys maneuvered their way in front of us, even though they’d obviously arrived after.
After they boarded the gentleman driving told us he was sorry he could not take any more people- but assured us he would be back in no time. I sat down, accepting what it was and watching the bus drive off. As it rolled away, the two guys who had taken our seats raised up their hands and flipped us off.
I felt anger and frustration rising within me, which if you know me you know I’m not a quick tempered person. I was quite frustrated that they not only cut us in line, but more so felt the need to flip us off.
We waited and finally the shuttle came back around. As we got on I asked the driver how his night was, and he put his hand on my shoulder and with overflowing kindness said “ better now that you are on here sweetie”. He was an extremely sweet and gentle older man, the type that you want to sit down with at a dinner table and get to know – because you know he is full of good stories and lots of wisdom. With his one sentence to me, he acknowledged my frustration while also reminding me that all is well now.
I watched as he greeted every person with intentionality and love. Even though he was on the older side, he insisted on carrying everybody’s luggage up and down and greeted them all in a polite and respectful manner. He seemed to extend extra grace to the grumpy passengers who were feeling the effects of jet lag and the need for sleep. I found myself admiring the way he chose to not let people’s moods affect the way he extended kindness and love.
He helped us off, and with a twinkle in his eye grasped my hand tightly with warmth and kindness. I asked his name, to which he replied “ Manuel my dear, Manuel”. And with that he was off.
All night I kept thinking about Manuel and his kindness, the way his behavior had so drastically changed my night. The way his demeanor and attitude remained consistent despite the attitude and actions of the people riding his shuttle. I also looked it up to find that his name means “God with us”. For me that is a reminder that everywhere we go, God is with us and we have the opportunity to reflect that to the people around us.
This world is harsh, the battles people face are great. There is always going to be opportunity to respond in hurt or bitter anger.
Yet how beautiful is it that we also have the opportunity to show kindness. The opportunity to be a voice of love and light in a world that is quick to respond in negativity.
How beautiful is it that we are able to be the vessels that God uses to speak life and encouragement.
Despite what we are going through, kindness is a choice and it holds the power to change situations.
What if we began to choose kindness over entitlement and frustration? To let our response towards people come from a place of love and not fear.
Kindness sparks growth and allows love to bloom. It has the power to break down the walls people put up and to remind us that we aren’t so different after all.
It is the thing this world craves, the catalyst for a revolution of Love.
“ as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”
⁃ Colossians 3:23-