When my oldest son was two years old, our family moved cross-country. My husband drove the U-haul across eight states while my toddler and I took an airplane. I spent the last day or so before the trip preparing the diaper bag and carry-ons for a painless trip. Little did I know that no amount of preparation can brace you for a screaming child in a tightly enclosed space with hundreds of people.
During the last hour of the flight, he decided he’d had enough. No amount of snacks, toys, or binkies could console him.
I was absolutely mortified. I wanted to buy everyone on the airplane a drink, and I would have if we’d had the money to spare. It felt as though the angry stares of everyone on the plane were penetrating into the back of my neck.
When the ride finally ended, I was gathering all of our carry-ons and ready to sprint to the terminal. A man who was sitting behind me the entire time stopped, smiled, and said, “You’re doing a great job. It will get better.” I wanted to give him a bear hug and cry on his shoulder but I restrained myself. I simply said, “Thank you,” and he went on his way.
Each morning we wake up to a world brimming with the possibility to change someone’s day for the better.
Many times, we don’t take advantage of it.
We have a lot more power than we often think we do. We can change someone’s mood with a simple kind word, a gracious gesture, a note of encouragement or a smile. We can choose to see beyond what’s in the peripheral and open our eyes to what’s around us.
Sometimes, it’s difficult for me to tend to my own life, much less worry about those around me. I am consumed with a hundred tedious tasks, a demanding two-year-old, and a busy schedule. I convince myself that I don’t have time to worry about anyone else.
But then I’m reminded how simple it is. I receive a message from a friend congratulating me on a recent accomplishment. A note that probably took her five minutes to write but instantly improves my mood and adds a little spring to my step. I have the extra energy to tackle my next task.
Love is an active word. As Bob Goff puts it, “Love does.” Our words have the power of life and death and our actions the capability to leave others feeling cared for or miserable.
When I think back on that day in the plane, I realize that the man sitting behind me could have complained about the noisy ride or his mind-splitting headache after listening to my son scream. But instead he chose to extend kindness.
Each day, I pray God will reveal little ways that I may do the same.
Spurring each other on in love. Extending the very hands and feet of the One who gave his love to me.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21
*Linking up with Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday. Come join us and be inspired.