“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”
My friend Ty is a rock star. I mean, he’s literally a rock star. His band Vintage Trouble has played shows all over the world, headlined music festivals, and opened for the likes of The Who and AC/DC. I love telling people about his success not because I want to name drop or bask in reflected glory, but because I’m so thrilled that the universe is blessing him a thousandfold.
Make no mistake: Ty’s success comes from dedication to his craft, a lot of hard work, and a ridiculous amount of talent. Anyone who saw him as the Scarecrow in our fourth grade production of The Wizard of Oz could already tell that it was a question of when he’d hit it big, not if. (I played the Wicked Witch of the West.) When someone radiates charisma like that, it’s inevitable that they’ll also be popular. What has stayed with me most, though, is his kindness.
When you grow up fat in the U.S., as I did, kindness can be a rather rare commodity. Peers teased me mercilessly for years. Even now, I struggle with caring about my body because I’d ingested so much toxicity early on.
Ty always treated me as worthy of respect, even when I didn’t believe it myself. I remember a Saturday afternoon at his house where he and I listened over and over to a recording of “The Longest Time” so we could create an arrangement for our a cappella quintet. It was the kind of creative concentration I experience now with my colleagues as we craft a worship service. I felt at ease. I felt valued.
After I asked him to our senior prom, he told me that he already had a date, but he never made me feel as though the idea of the fat girl asking the rock star was absurd or a joke. That alone cleared a liter of toxins from my system.
We have so many opportunities to bless each other in this world, but they don’t always announce themselves as moments of profound transformation. I choose to plant seeds of life wherever I can, just in case. I may never know whose song I’ll amplify in the process.
Spirit of Kindness, offer your healing balm to all who need it. Let it remove thorns and soften scars. Inspire us to spread your gifts generously in a hurting world, for you reflect the love that no one is beyond, whether they believe it or not. Amen.
Photo copyright Austin Neill CC0 1.0