Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Seeds of Kindness

Around this time last year, my son Alex, his then-fiancee Michelle and I were having a discussion about the importance of kindness, and how you never know the effect it may have. I began telling them about a time...

...when I was a kid, there was an art supply store in the town where we lived. Most days after school you could find me there. Arts and crafts were my hiding place. The shop was owned and operated by a British couple who were very amiable, especially the wife.

One day while I was buying some drawing pencils and a paperback book on how to draw the human figure, she said, smiling, "You're in here all the time. You must be an artist." Feeling both startled and pleased, I answered, "Yes, um, I mean, I want to be." After that, she seemed to take particular interest in me. She never minded whether I bought anything or not, and always patiently answered any questions I had.

I'll never forget the time she gave me a box of modeling clay, saying, "Why don't you see what you can do with this, and I'll display it in my shop window." I sculpted a child swinging on a tree limb. I'm sure it was awful. But oh the joy of walking past that window and seeing my handiwork in all of its plasticine glory :)

That dear woman could not know just how healing were the seeds of kindness she sowed in the heart of an anxious, clumsy, angry adolescent. I wonder if she had any idea where her encouragement might lead.

As I finished my anecdote, I noticed Michelle's face became quite serious. "Where was this shop?" she asked. I told her the town. "What was the shop's name?" I told her. "Those people were my grandparents! They had emigrated here from England and opened an art store." Amazing. I as a twelve-year-old met the grandmother of my future son's future wife! I suppose if we had all lived in the same neighborhood where everyone knew each other, it wouldn't have been such a surprise. But we hadn't.

At their wedding, we were able to recounte this memory with my daughter-in-law's father and his siblings. Michelle's grandmother is still alive, but her memory has given way to Alzheimer's. Her adult children were so happy to hear this story. "Yes, that was our mother," Michelle's aunt cried. "She was always so caring and kind to everyone." God is good.

15 comments:

Alexis said...

Jodi,
My jaw is hanging! WOW! I especially loved the beginning and your art, such a sweet story!

monix said...

What a beautiful and amazing story. We have all benefited from the encouragement you had to develop as an artist.

imchosen4worship said...

I love God's perfect timing and how He can make something beautiful even during the rough spots in our lives. And like all good gifts from God, it was not only meant for you, but to be shared ... with family ... and with us. Thanks for letting us in on that blessing!

Val said...

That's a lovely story :0)

JoAnn said...

This made me cry. What a great story! I love this!

Rayanne said...

What a wonderful story.
I am so glad you found my blog, because now I have found yours....it's my new favorite!!
Thank you for the tip on oil-pastels. I will not give up on them yet...but I'm getting close to.
I am so looking forward to my visits here...I'm just so happy about your blog.

Jodi said...

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words. The older I get the more I realize the power our words have. They can be life-giving or life-destroying. I'm thankful to be in the company of such encouragers as yourselves.

Monix, Welcome back, you were missed.

Rayanne, Looking forward to visting more of your blog as well.

Stephanie Ann said...

How sweet, I didn't know that! What a good story. Your drawing is beautiful.

NZ Driftwood Doodles said...

Wow! That is soo wonderful. I bet God set that one up just for fun! I am increasingly aware that the people I think would least need encouraging words often need them the most. Thanks for sharing this with us :)

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Your art is beautiful, and this story was amazing. Thank you!

Jodi said...

Thank you, Kristi! I left a comment on your blog.

em said...

I love this kind of true stories!
Margaretha

Nancy said...

That is the coolest thing I've read on the internet all week, and the best part is--it's a true story. So glad you wrote about it.

Jodi said...

Nancy ,Thank you.

Stacy said...

Jodi, I was reading back through your previous posts today and happened upon this one. My breath caught and my eyes teared upon reading this...It is amazing what His plans are for us.

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