Where does it start? A chain reaction? Dominoes knocking over dominoes? Paying it forward? A Rube Goldberg arrangement of sequences that nudge and push and lift and cause one event to precipitate another? Not many have seen or remember the cartoons of Pulitzer prize winning artist, Mr. Goldberg. They were clever intricate drawings that always started with an action which triggered a complicated series of events, resulting in a final consequence. His cartoons almost always had an action and a result.* What is so important about this concept is that everything we do has consequences. Good actions, produce good results. The opposite is true as well. Even small, seemingly insignificant unkindness can affect people for their entire lives.
I can distinctly remember standing next to my mother at the end of the year, hearing my third grade teacher, whom I knew didn’t like me, say, “Little Jose is very bright, but he is just lazy.” For decades I struggled with the notion that I was a slacker. Finally, in my mid forties, I realized the truth. I was not lazy. Not even a little bit.
And kindness, has long lasting results. Cindy and I had breakfast last week with a man we had both been kind to almost fifty five years ago. She had gone with him to the High School prom. I had taught a Bible study he attended. He got teary eyed as he spoke of our kindnesses.
A hospital in Tennessee commissioned me to film a SandStory highlighting their new name, “Dignity Health.” It was all to be centered on a theme entitled “Hello Human Kindness.” The theme described qualities that really resonated with my desire to live like Christ. “Kindness is: sharing the good times and the bad, Giving without expecting to be repaid, helping someone less fortunate, taking time to just be there.”
Rube had it right. Every action has a result. Good, produces good. Kindness breeds kindness. One generous gift will be rewarded with another.