Footsteps in Faith: Consider kindness in discouraging times

| July 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Chase

Chaplain (Capt.) Dan Chase
Battalion Chaplain, 1-27 Infantry Battalion,
2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Inf. Division
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Would you like to change the world? So would I. And it’s not as hard as you’d think. At least that’s the lesson Evan Baxter learned in Universal Pictures’ “Evan Almighty.”

After quitting his job as a broadcast journalist and moving from New York to Virginia to begin his career as congressman, Baxter, played by funnyman Steve Carell, touts that he and his campaign will change the world. Struggling to find balance between his family and his demanding job, he prays and experiences a number of inexplicable events that direct him to build an ark.

After a period of complete skepticism and defiance, God, played by Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman, convinces Baxter of his divinity and the work begins. At the end of the film, the ark delivers residents and animals from “the flood” following the break of a nearby dam.

As God and Baxter meet one final time, God asks the congressman, “So, how do we change the world?” Smiling, the ark builder replies “One act of random kindness at a time.” God repeats his answer, using a stick to draw in the dirt three simple letters: A-R-K.

Fighting discouragement
In an increasingly wicked and immoral world, we can easily become discouraged and upset with humanity’s treatment of each other. And I’m not just referring to serious crimes such as murder or abuse. Even seemingly harmless acts such as belittling others or experiencing road rage can disappoint or dishearten us.

With daily news reports hitting our feeds with one depressing story after another, we certainly don’t need an additional figurative serving of unwanted MRE ratatouille on our plates. And others don’t need it either. In other words, we, too, must become aware of how we mistreat others and resolve to follow the golden rule. It’s time to turn to kindness.

Imagine what London commuters felt in November 2013, when they read this message on an Earl’s Court station sign: “You…yes you. The one reading this. You are beautiful, kind, sweet, amazing and simply the best at being you. Never forget that.” While it may have taken a minute to write, it likely impacted thousands of people. A simple ARK.

Simple kindness
As demonstrated above, kindness need not take a lot of planning. Nor does it need to be an extravagant gift such as the $10,000 check TV host Ellen DeGeneres gave a waitress after picking up the tab of two female New Hampshire Army National Guardsmen who worried out loud about getting paid during the government shutdown in 2013.

Kindness can be as simple as offering a smile to a stranger, giving an encouraging word, letting someone in front of you while driving, or speaking positively about a Soldier when others attempt to ridicule them. The sky is truly the limit.

While most of us will not receive financial compensation for our deeds ­– nor should we expect it – research has shown that kindness results in a variety of benefits.

Not only does the immune system receive a boost, but the body produces more of the neurochemical serotonin, the “happy hormone” responsible for transmitting feelings of pleasure to the brain. Kindness can also lessen our chronic pain, and alleviate stress and insomnia.

The Dalai Lama said, “My religion is simple. My religion is kindness.”

He has certainly changed the world. Can we? You bet!

With one act of act of random kindness at a time.

 

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