I want to share a story with you.
This summer, while heading out on a mission trip, I decided to leave a note in the Houston Hobby airport bathroom. It was a simple note to cheer on the woman who would enter the bathroom stall sometime after me.
So far this sounds noble and lovely, huh? Let me pull back the curtain and share the behind the scenes version. I was traveling with my youngest son, and I asked him if he’d like to write a note to leave in the men’s bathroom. He politely declined. [awesome] After my attempt to coerce him into changing his mind, he held his ground.
Digging out my supplies to write my note, I decided not to take his decline as my personal failure. I do that a lot. I assume someone opting out is personal failure or rejection. It’s a pattern I’ve been working a lifetime to change.
Seeing how slow it was in our terminal, I decided to walk my note over to the busier terminal. My son and I set off on the five minute journey, and as we got closer to the bathroom, I reached into my pocket [where I had placed the note] and discovered it was not there.
Operation Plan B.
While retracing our steps, we discovered the note conveniently resting on the ground close to our gate. In other words, right back where we started. The same place that appeared to “slow” and without much traffic. The place I didn’t think was the best fit for my note. This is humorous to me in hindsight. We picked up the note and headed toward the bathroom in our “not so busy” terminal.
I placed the note in the bathroom stall and prayed it would intersect the person who needed it. The nagging feeling that the note should have been in the busier terminal persisted, but it wasn’t long before our flight took off, and I forgot about the note.
While getting ready for a day of serving in Costa Rica, a friend sent me a text that took my breath away, sent chills down my spine, and filled my eyes with tears. Take a look.
As if that wasn’t enough encouragement, texts continued pouring in. This was the next one.
My breath caught in my throat. As I read, I was reminded of a proverb that talks about a man planning his day, but the Lord directing his steps. I didn’t want to leave the note in the “quiet” terminal because I was afraid it wouldn’t find its person.
I put the note in the bathroom on a Saturday afternoon, and she said it was Monday morning before she saw it. Monday morning. In the busier terminal, it may not have remained taped to the stall that long.
Apparently, she read the note, took a picture, and decided to leave it for another soul in need. That’s where this story grows in strength.
Here’s a quick side note. I often wrestle with wanting to give up on this movement of kindness. It feels too hard-like lifting and launching an elephant on my own. I get discouraged and want to quit, and then this happens. I get notes from perfect strangers who remind me this wasn’t my idea. It was a soul prompting, and I had to respond. I still have to respond to the need to sow kindness into the community and world around me.
Isn’t that how it always seems to happen? Right when you reach the end of your rope, something unexpected happens to keep you moving forward.
Wouldn’t you know, the story doesn’t end there.
A few weeks after returning from Costa Rica, a new story was added to the #sowkind website. If you follow the link, it will take you to the story of a woman named Robin. Her story hit me in the gut. Tears streamed down my face as I read the words of a perfect stranger who also encountered a note of kindness in the Houston Hobby airport.
Yep, it was the same one. Because the first recipient left it in the stall, another person was able to drink in the words. [Go to the link above and read her story. You will be filled by the way the note intersected her need.]
I often want to quit, but it’s usually due to my limited sight and understanding. It’s never because the need for the movement isn’t somehow affirmed. These stories give me wings and new strength to continue. This wasn’t my idea, but it’s a really good one.
Friends, this post is for you. If you’ve done one thing, twelve things, or nothing at all with the #sowkind movement, thank you. Thank you for showing interest, considering waving the banner of kindness in this world of lonely and hurting, and cheering me on.
Kindness may not change the world, but it will impact people one decision at a time.
PS-Do you want to get involved but don’t know how? Leave a comment here, and I’ll point you in the right direction!
Also, new t-shirts are coming, so watch for that post to follow!