Acts Of Kindness

Standing in the shallow end of the swimming pool, I unconsciously touched my right shoulder several times. 

There was a slight pain at the end of each lap.

Finishing my morning swim, I got dressed and headed for the exit of the pool complex.

But I was stopped in my tracks by a gentleman who asked, “Is your shoulder hurting?” Surprised at the question, I responded in the affirmative. 

Calmly, he advised me what to do.

The following day, I stumbled upon the same gentleman. He enquired of my shoulder. I answered that it was recovering.

Some days afterwards, I completed a lap, gazed up at the spectators’ stand, and there was the same gentleman gesticulating to me the proper hand movement of the freestyle strokes. I gave him the thumbs up in gratitude.

Several days later, I joined a swimming class. 

A lane was assigned to me. As a new student, I was struggling through the swimming drills.

A fellow swimmer exchanged places with the person in the lane next to me. 

I wondered why. 

As we went through the exercise paces, he simplified the instructions for me, and sometimes demonstrated the correct strokes.  As the class progressed, he corrected my bad strokes. When I was exhausted, he motivated me to persevere. At the end of the work out, he advised, “Go home and ice those shoulders and stretch.”

Exiting the pool, again I bumped into the first gentleman – the one in the spectator stands. Apologetically, he explained his intentions – correcting the error of my left arm freestyle strokes. Smiling, I voiced my appreciation.

I was a stranger to those two gentlemen. None of them knew who I was or my religious or social status.  Yet, they demonstrated profound kindness.

The insight of Matthew Kelly rings loud, “Kindness is one of the utterly beautiful expressions of our humanity. Every kindness, random acts of kindness, and heroic moments of kindness banish fear, soothe pain, revive hope, and restore our faith in humanity.” (Life is Messy)

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