Choosing Kindness

by Rhonda, March 27, 2022

I stepped out of the bathroom stall in the women's bathroom of the airport.  She had her stuff sprawled all over the counter.  Her hair straightener was plugged in and various components of her make-up were strewn across the counter.  Her hair was dyed bleach blonde, her face smeared with lipstick that wasn't applied quite right.  She wore a short miniskirt and when she looked at me, the hard life showed in the lines across her face.

I was returning from a week of working offsite.  Tired and hungry, I just wanted to get home, have dinner, and see my kids.  I hesitated to choose which sink to use to wash my hands, since her stuff was everywhere.  I stepped forward and turned on the water to the sink furthest from her. 

She stopped and looked at me.  "Excuse me," she said.  "Do you know how far...."

She trailed off, so I didn't answer her.  She tried again.  "Excuse me.  Do you live here?"

"No, I don't.  I'm sorry." I responded.  I reached around her charging cellphone to grab paper towels.  Our eyes met, and I looked straight into the face of addiction.  I wasn't positive, but it seemed as if her eyes filled with tears for a short second, before shaking her head and turning away.

"Well nevermind, then.  Thanks." she returned to applying her make-up in the mirror.

I opened my mouth to say something to her, but at that moment, my cellphone buzzed in my back pocket.  What time will you be home?.  I stepped out of the bathroom and texted my kids back.  I hurried over to baggage claim, looking for my bag that would surely be rotating on the carousel.  After waiting a while, I retrieved my bag and I began to follow the exit signs to leave the airport.

As I walked away, I looked over at the women's restroom.  I should have asked her if she was okay.  Pulling my roller bag behind me, I walked back to the women's restroom.  I looked around, but she was gone. There was no straightener, no cellphone, and no makeup on the counter.  

A cleaning lady looked up at me as she emptied the trash can. "Looking for something?"

"No," I answered.  "Thank you."

I left the airport, walked to my car and began the long drive home.  I wondered what would have happened if I had just been a little more kind.  Sure, I don't live in the city, but I could have helped her.  I thought about Jesus on the drive home.  I thought about how He was often seen with the most scandalous people, much to the disgust of the Pharisees.  I thought about how He would have treated the woman in the bathroom.  My mind recalled the parable in Luke Chapter 15:

1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent

There's no question about how He would have treated the woman I encountered.  I can't help but to want a heart like His.  Jesus' passion is seen in the Bible when the lost are found (and aren't we all lost?) and He never loses sight of his passion.  He gives significance to the lost because of His love for them.  Even when bringing them back requires sacrifice, He is willing to stop at nothing to pursue every last one of his sheep.  If we need any further confirmation about his passion, we can simply read Luke 19:10:

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

 Jesus didn't miss an opportunity to be kind, especially to the lost.  We should be so intently focused on God and his calling for our life, that when distractions come, we are not moved.  God calls us to kindness, self-control, a spirit of generosity, and a commitment to humble service.  Do we really want to be interrupted in the middle of our crazy schedules and meticulous plans to serve God?  Did I need to return a text instead of showing kindness to someone in front of me?

This world has so much brokenness.  In particular, the women of this world seem to have so much pain, and so often their cries are not heard by other women of faith.  They walk alone, going through the trails of life without someone walking beside them.  God calls us to notice the people around us, and we are to introduce hope into dark lives. We are to reach out to those around us, and light the way to the only One who can provide healing for life's trauma.

I  have a goal to stop allowing my daily responsibilities to get in the way of pursuing the calling that God puts on my heart.  Distractions should never drown out a calling.  Responsibilities, while important, should not replace Jesus' passion for my life.  

Joy and peace are found in pursuing His will for our lives anyway.  The one who missed out due to distractions in the airport restroom likely wasn't the woman battling addiction, with her makeup strewn all over the counter.  Its very possible the next woman entering the restroom helped her.

No, the person who missed out was the one who was busy answering the text on her phone and hurrying to the baggage claim. 

It was me. 

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