Sometimes we get numb to certain words. Phrases like, “How are you?” or “I’m praying for you,” or “You’re in my thoughts,” should mean something, but oftentimes they are said so flippantly that they begin to lose their meaning.
Gretchen Robinson, from South Hill, Va., found the power of kindness that lives in those words during a recent health crisis.
"A couple of months ago, my husband, Bernard and I started talking with members of Nicole’s Kindness Team, who quickly became wonderful friends. We found ourselves chatting back and forth and friendships were formed. They have become like family to us.
"A year ago I underwent gallbladder surgery. When I found myself back in the surgeon’s office this year around the same time as last year, I was in disbelief to find out hernia repair surgery would be required.
"My hubby and I knew we wanted our friends to know about the upcoming surgery and requested their prayers. In the days leading up to surgery, my nerves were getting the best of me. That’s when our friends’ messages and texts started to come in. I was so grateful for each one.
"On the day of my surgery, I was waiting in the pre-op room. My hubby checked his phone and there were new messages from our dear friends saying that they were praying the surgery would go well.
"As I was waiting in recovery after the surgery to go home, my hubby informed me that the surgeon repaired not just one hernia, but two hernias that were beside each other.
"I wasn’t out of the woods yet. The morning following surgery, I found myself nauseous and very sick to the point of dehydration. We drove an hour and fifteen minutes back to the hospital for IV fluids and a CT scan to make sure that the surgical site was still intact. Our friends once again were checking on us and praying for us and encouraging us as we waited in the ER that night.
"I am now four weeks post-op and there is not a day that doesn’t go by that our friends aren’t checking on us. I was sent Nicole’s book 'Kindness is Contagious' to read during my recovery time. It was right on time!
"Here’s what I’ve learned from the kindness shown to me: kindness does not stop at your front door. It reaches across the miles to the hearts of others that need to be lifted up during trying times. It encourages you to take one day at a time, to enjoy a morning cup of coffee on the porch and to let others know they can call on you for prayer. Our lives have been enriched through the kindness of others. We are grateful for the kindness that has been shown to us and are forever grateful for the gift of friendship."
Our words have power. Even if they are words that have been said a million times before, when they are said with the intent to love, their potential is unlimited.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicole J. Phillips, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Aberdeen, S.D., with her three children and her husband, Saul Phillips, the head men's basketball coach at Northern State University. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.