6 Those who are taught the word should share all good things with their teacher. 7 Make no mistake, God is not mocked. A person will harvest what they plant. 8 Those who plant only for their own benefit will harvest devastation from their selfishness, but those who plant for the benefit of the Spirit will harvest eternal life from the Spirit. 9 Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up. 10 So then, let’s work for the good of all whenever we have an opportunity, and especially for those in the household of faith.” (Galatian 6:6-10, Common English Bible)
Over the past several months I have been critical of most all of us for our lack of caring and kindness. From a woman who, when asked about wearing a mask quite literally took the first bus to Angerville, started yelling at the woman who ask and then ran up to her and started coughing in her face. Family members suddenly can’t find a way to get along because they find themselves on opposite sides of the political wars. The same thing happens with friendships. Years of friendship goes away we find we don’t agree on something in religion or politics or the direction the sun will rise tomorrow morning (Hint: Here in East Texas, the sun will rise but it is unlikely anyone hear will point and show the direction with first-hand empirical evidence because we have a 90% chance of rain).
We have allowed it to happen. If you have read here any time at all you know I have been on a bit of a kindness campaign. I have called myself a kindness advocate. I truly believe that if we do not overcome our petty bitterness and become examples for our leaders (And there is more than enough places to point at we shouldn’t even start pointing fingers) that they should be for the rest of us, that we have bitterly failed in many ways. Chief among them, “Love the Lord your God… Love your neighbor as yourself.” We can’t say we are loving our neighbor if we can’t carryout a civil conversation with them. We can’t say we love our neighbor when we can’t find it within our hearts to say something nice. Sometimes I fear my mom was the only one to teach, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I may not always be successful, but I do try and I would like to think I am successful more than I am not. We also can’t say we love God when we can’t seem to love our neighbor (Jesus said, “As much as you have done it to one of the least of these, you have done it to me.)
I also did say, when I saw kindness being lived out I would share it with you. I saw the story I am about to share with you, I saw last night on the CBS Evening News. Surprisingly for this time of year, the story had nothing to do with Christmas. This time of year, we do often see acts of kindness to others. Perhaps it is because of God’s kindness to send us the gift of a baby to save us all or that we are more concerned about making sure we are on the correct Christmas list. This story was not about any of that. And, when I saw it on the news last night, I knew it was a kindness story I really needed to share.
About nine months ago, Kelly Kenney was out for a walk one day. She encountered fairy garden. For those of you, like me, who had no clue about the existence of something like a fairy garden. Perhaps I have lived a sheltered life. In an opening in the concrete on a paved sidewalk, just like the openings at regular intervals up and down the street, years ago, workers had planted a tree. At this tree, a four-year-old girl, I suspect with the help of her mother, built a “fairy garden.” In the dirt around the base of the tree were several trinkets. They varied in size, color and more. Kelly Kenney stopped and admired the little garden.
As Kenney continued her walk, but now on her way home, she felt an idea take over her that led to thoughts like, what name her “fairy” altar ego would have. “My imagination just kind of took over and I just started thinking, ‘Well, maybe if I left a note as a fairy, that would be really fun to do.'” The next night, that is just what she did, writing, “My name is Sapphire,” she wrote. “I am one of the fairies who lives in this tree.”
“Fairy garden” architect, four-year-old Eliana and her mother not only found the note that Sapphire left in the garden, they wrote back. Those letters, those bits of communications, have gone on to become a great friendship between a woman portraying a fairy and a little girl. Over the past nine months (about the length of time we have been dealing with a virus that seems to continue to drive wedges between us all, something special has happened. In that time there have been letters, gifts, personal photos and glitter exchanged. Eliana’s mom, Emily, must be pretty special too. That much glitter means glitter everywhere and it would make me crazy. For all of them, 2020 may not have been the worst year ever as so many complained. A special friendship began to emerge. Many parents might have feared what was growing, but Emily was always with Eliana when she went out to the garden and as they found new things, Emily was thrilled.
Emily said, “We were constantly floored, like just completely floored. The gifts that she would give were just so personal, so kind, and we were just like, ‘We don’t even know you!'”
Eliana was a blessed little girl. It would seem she knows it too. But she wanted something more. She wanted to meet her new friend Sapphire, the woman with pointy ears (Before she left a personal picture for Eliana, Kenny bought a set of fairy ears and had her picture taken wearing the ears). The question became, how could they make the meeting happen. Kenney remembered that fairies can sometimes, meet and interact. In that action the fairly would become human sized. So, one day, not long ago, Sapphire appeared.
Kenney said, “She turned around and saw me and I immediately was like, ‘Are you Eliana?!’ And she was like, ‘Yea.’ And the way that she looked at me, I’ll never forget that.”
In these pandemic days and constant news about total people infected and new infections, and the death tool, not to even mention the projections for all those things over the next six months can leave us feeling little hope. Kenney said se was in a dark place. But, when she accidently (or was it accidental?) “she found her light.”
Kenney concluded, “I want people to believe that they don’t have to be a fairy to give a little bit of magic to someone else. And it doesn’t have to be a child either.”
I believe she is correct. You don’t have to be anyone but you and the abilities you have to show love and kindness to someone who is in desperate need. You don’t know how dark someone’s world might be. You don’t know just how much of a difference you can make. Here is a place where we can live out the words accredited to Caroline Flack, In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” You might make a difference beyond your greatest expectation.
A special note: This is my last regular post (and it will be different) for 2020. I will still post Perritte Memorial UMC worship on Sundays December 20 and 27. We are also planning to post Christmas Eve worship from Perritte as well. Though I am not yet sure what date I will return, it should be in early January. I need a bit of a break and I have some other things that need some of my thoughts too.
When I get back there will be some changes. I am not sure of what this blog’s name will be. It may even remain the same. Spirit’s Breath Ministries will change to be “Fork in the Road Ministries.” Whatever changes are made you will still find us at revbroyles.me, which will become a full website. The plan is to have the blog still there but more. I plan to move my music to the page. You will also find my book (and hopefully a new book in 2021) on the blog. Aldersgate prayer ropes and other paracord products will be available in the Knotheads section of the page. There will be more on the page, you will need to check it out.
Cindy and I want to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I look forward to 2021 with the great hope in which we always enter each year. May God richly bless your Christmas season and the Year to Come.
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved