Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Crock Pots And Kindness

My student aide, Jean, left to run some errands Monday afternoon and came back with a present for me! It was a USPS package addressed to yours truly but I couldn't tell who it was from or place of origin. It felt like a plaque but I couldn't remember doing anything noteworthy. I think Jean was as excited as me to open it so I wasted no time. The contents are what you see posted above! You might recall that several weeks ago, I penned an entry about choosing a $15 per month rent increase to pay for all new carpet and floors in my apartment along with brand new major appliances. To cover that optional expense, I publicly pledged to not eat out for a year, along with foregoing the purchase of any new clothes. My blog traced my spring break cuisine marathon, in which four straight days of crock pot yielded a freezer full of meals, leaving me NO EXCUSE for buying any sort of fast food supper. That brings me full circle to the mail delivery. Natalie, one of my favorite former students, read my slow cooker treatise and decided to help. She sent me a slow cooker recipe book, two supplemental magazines, and three packets of gourmet soup mix to fortify my fledgling culinary skills! Natalie and I go way back. She sat in my  classes in Tennessee where I also taught her sister, Carol, and was blessed to have her cousin Nancy coach with me in basketball. Natalie and I reconnected on FACEBOOK and today, on that all-important nutritional level!

I've messaged back and forth several times with Natalie in the hours since the package arrived. We actually have not seen each other in many years but since she lives close to a number of my relatives in the Oklahoma City area, I am hoping we can visit during one of my holiday trips and I can meet her husband as well. I'm equally hoping my new reading material will make me a better chef- I'm using that word loosely- and dietitian. What an amazingly kind gesture! Jesus taught that even cups of water given in His name would be rewarded; my prayer is that Natalie gets abundantly blessed for thinking of her former instructor and trying to make his life better!

It's funny what stays in our mind and what passes through without taking up residence. I won't forget what Natalie did; it took time and thought and cash, three components of graciousness I often neglect to invest. Sometimes seemingly inconsequential actions, inconsequential enough that we quickly forget them, leave a mark on someone else. As I've cleaned my closet in anticipation of the upcoming renovations, I've come across bits of the past which had escaped my memory. On Sunday, I found a copy of an e-mail from a former student named Sara. The e-mail was dated 2004 and was attached to an essay written at a Midwestern university. In a college education course, a paper was assigned to discuss a school incident which made a difference in the life of the student. Sara wrote about my jotting a short recommendation for her in regards to cheerleader tryouts at the new school she was soon to be attending. In her note to me, Sara recounted several details about her transferring but those details were fuzzy to me and the recommendation drew a complete blank. Teachers do those kind of things on a daily basis and that particular one didn't stick. But you know, it mattered enough to Sara to turn it into an essay and track me down on the Internet ten years later so I could read it. (My belief is that her kind act far outweighed the one which I could barely recall.) Within twenty-four hours, two students from the same school blessed my life. My guess is their paths never crossed- Natalie came before Sara- but somehow their acts of kindness coincided in a confluence of thoughtfulness. When Paul listed the nine Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5, he placed kindness exactly in the center, right after patience and right before goodness. I like that; kindness should be right in the middle of every action we take, every thought we have, every word we speak, and maybe, in every meal we make. During His temptation, Jesus reminded Satan that man does not live on bread alone but on the word of God. There's more to life than crock pots, too, but at least I'll have some more options to chew on. I'll let you know!
PS: And while we're at it, congratulations to Natalie who passed her real estate exam yesterday!

Applicable quote of the day:
Kindness is ever the begetter of kindness.

God bless,

Luke 18:1
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