Welcome to 2022. Here we face a new year with hope that the days and months will be better than the previous two years, but we don’t know for sure what 2022 brings.
Each year, I try to choose a word to focus on through the coming year. December 2021 was so busy that I didn’t even think about my word for 2022. It didn’t even cross my mind. Yet, I have a word. A word that chose me.
Let me explain what happened on December 31, 2021 to show my word for the year. A lesson in kindness that I never expected, but one that will stay with me for a long time.
My husband and I were returning to Arizona from a visit to our daughter in the Seattle, Washington area. These desert dwellers were surprised to find a week of snow and ice when we’d only expected rain. Our time there had been wonderful visiting family, but the driving and navigating on slick roads proved stressful and we were ready to get home.
That Friday, we chose to drive longer to get over the mountain passes before more snow arrived. We were heading for Redding, California to stay the night and had been on the road for about eleven hours. Some of the driving was very slow going and we had some delays.
We were tired as we headed down the last mountain pass, about an hour from our destination. Traffic was light because of the holiday. We rounded a curve and at the edge of the road was an RV. A woman stood behind the RV, almost in the road, waving a flashlight with a frantic motion.
I told my husband he needed to slow and then we did something we never do—we pulled over and to see if we could help. There was snow along the road and it was very cold. As we backed up to off assistance, I prayed for guidance.
There were three young people who met us. They were in their mid-to-late 20’s or that’s my guess. One of the girls was carrying a black cat wrapped inside her jacket. They were stranded and had been there for three hours trying to get help. Because it was New Year’s Eve and because of the remote location, they couldn’t find anyone to come for them. The only possibility they’d found would cost several hundred dollars just to give them a ride to town.
We rearranged our belongings in the car and made room for them in the back seat. The three climbed in with their suitcases and bags and cat. I know they weren’t comfortable all squeezed in but they were so grateful to have someone help them. The two girls were from Spain and the young man was from San Francisco.
They rode with us for the next hour. As my husband drove, the three of them were on the phone—all at the same time—trying to get someone to pick them up in Redding and finding out how to get the part they needed for the RV. They were so very nice. When we dropped them off where their friend was to meet them, they hugged me and I petted the cat, a very sweet and quiet cat. (From the moment I saw them carrying a black cat, I knew it would be fine to pick them up and help them.)
When we said our good-byes, I mapped the distance to our hotel. We were only about a mile from our destination, so it worked out just right for us too.
Doing that act of kindness blessed me so much. Not only had we helped them, but I believe they helped us. As they all chattered in the back seat, two of them in Spanish, and one in English, we were rejuvenated after a very tiring day. Staying awake was not a problem. They were so grateful to get off that cold mountain and we didn’t charge them a penny to take them to where they could connect with their friend.
The next day as I prayed about what had happened, I realized that kindness would be my word for the year for 2022. I will pray each day for God to show me any way I can show kindness. It may be something as simple as putting out food for the stray cats near our house, encouraging someone who is going through a tough time, or fixing a special meal for my husband.
I don’t know what the year holds, but I do know that intentional acts of kindness will always be welcome. I hope you will consider what acts of kindness you can do. You will be amazed at the blessing you receive in return.
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)