Monday, July 6 2020 - 11:38 PM

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Pacific Southwest

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Simply Kind

Humans are inherently social creatures. We were designed with the capacity to express, understand and empathize with the emotions of others. Our nervous system was designed to be an information highway, where neurons facilitate information to our bodies. Mirror neurons allow us to simulate observed actions and in turn, stimulate emotional centers of the brain. These centers are then activated and bring forth a response to what the person is observing. For example, a person observes a stranger yawning and it causes them to yawn. This system of mirror neurons allows us to show compassion and kindness to others. A smile or simple act kindness can change someone’s life. It can cause a powerful ripple effect in a person’s life. Kindness is simply contagious—it is a blessing that brings forth positivity for both the giver and receiver.

As I was on my way to work one Friday, I noticed a red light appear on my dashboard. I nervously pulled over at the nearest gas station and took a look at my almost completely flat tire. Those who know me can imagine the anxious look on my face. I’m a speech therapist assistant and had clients that were counting on me to make it on time to the clinic. As I reached for the air pump, I noticed that the air pressure gauge was missing. My heart dropped. I thought “Great, I’m stuck here and there’s no way I can make it to another gas station in time to make it to my first session.” I whispered a quick prayer, and shortly after a car pulled up next to mine. An older man came out, kindly asked me what happened, and proceeded to help me. Because of this stranger, I was able to see my clients and go about my day. Something so simple and unexpected had an effect on me. I was no longer anxious, and it quite honestly made my day to know that there are people who will offer a helping hand to a complete stranger.

In Matthew 7:12 Jesus says, “So whatever you wish that others would do unto you, do also for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” This rule applies to all humanity and is powerful enough to create change. When people practice kindness, they are not only showing empathy, but they are truly noticing and making others feel like they truly matter. It is in our nature as humans to be social and empathetic; it is only natural to crave human interaction. Loneliness plays a part in anxiety and depression, two mental health issues that are highly prevalent in the United States. Unfortunately, our society has built walls of separation relating to wealth, sexual orientation, immigration status, race, and the list goes on.

Recently I have challenged myself to talk to and connect with cashiers at stores. You would be surprised at how much people are willing to talk just by simply asking “How is your shift going?” Some will give me a short answer and continue working, but most in my experience, will light up and share about their day. People want and need to be noticed and cared for.

Christ set the standard in caring for others. Throughout His ministry, Jesus consistently spent time with those who were outcasts. He healed those who were shamed for their illnesses and sins. There was emotional and physical healing by His touch. His eyes witnessed the brokenness of humanity and in return offered hope. Through His kindness, He reflected their true worth. A worth that was not contingent on physical incapabilities or their social status but rather in the essence of who they were—humans, created beings made in the likeness of God.

There is a definite hunger and need to feel seen, heard, and cared for. Acts of kindness, big or small, can offer someone a sense of hope and belonging. Kindness is powerful enough to break down walls that separate our communities by offering the emotional healing needed to build communities that stand in solidarity. This is an open invitation to all to strive to be kind with those you encounter and do what you can to make the world a more loving place.

Jackelyn Garci writes from Southern California.

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About Jackelyn Garci

Jackelyn Garci

writes from Southern California.

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