So, I love go-karting! I love going as fast as the karts will allow and tearing around corners at full speed! I love that there are no stop signs or lights to watch out for, just full speed ahead. There’s a bit of a “free” feeling to it, for me anyways. So when I heard that we were getting a newer, better go kart track in the area I got super excited and couldn’t wait till it opened. This past week was finally opening weekend so I convinced both of my parents to go along with me to test out the new track. And knowing that both of my parents love go karting as well, of course they said yes. My dad is especially fond of fast cars in general. We’ve gone go karting as a family many, many times. Growing up I remember he was always watching Nascar and Indy car racing on tv so we’re a fast car racing kind of family!
The line up was surprisingly not too bad when we got there and it was a beautiful night for racing. I got buckled up in my race car and waited for the go ahead to put my pedal to the metal and I was off! It’s a nice, wide track which is great for passing slowpoke’s! There was a car in front of me in the beginning that didn’t seem to understand that this was a racing track and not a scenic tour ride. If it wasn’t against the rules, I would have “gently encouraged” (bumped) him off to the side. My family isn’t above some friendly competition on the race track. One time, years ago when we all went go karting, my father was trying to pass my mom who I guess was going a bit too slow for my dads liking. My father then lovingly took it upon himself to “encourage” my mother to move over so he nudged her. And by “nudge” I mean he sent her airborne. It was hilarious and we all still laugh about it today, but in the moment my mom let him have it afterwards. We take our racing seriously folks! Needless to say, it took me a bit to maneuver around Mr. Slowpoke but I finally passed him. (On a side note: if going 32 km/hr in a go kart is too much for you, get.off.the.track and let the rest of us play!)
After testing out the go karts, we went for a walk down to the falls. On our way there, we passed by a guy on the street, asking for change. We stopped and said hi, both to him and his adorable dog that he had with him. We asked him his name and he told us a bit about himself and his story. He even told us that he’s in the process of getting a job that will hopefully be able to help him get a roof over his head. We congratulated him and wished him well after handing him a few dollars and we kept walking. On our way back up to go home we passed by the same man on the street and noticed that he was upset about something someone had said to him. Someone had apparently snubbed him or made condescending remarks about his situation. We kept walking but I remember thinking to myself, how horrible it is for anyone to look down or say anything negative about such an unfortunate situation. How arrogant to think that it couldn’t happen to us or that we’re so much better just because we have more than others.
I find that most people who think this way have never really sat down with someone in that situation and ever really asked their name let alone their story. I know I’ve probably shared this before but because of how I was raised I tend to have a soft spot towards people in need. When I was growing up my parents would frequently bring people home that needed a place to stay or something to eat. I grew up getting to know peoples stories, whether they were homeless, addicts, sick, lonely, depressed or just temporarily down on their luck. Keeping in mind also that we ourselves didn’t have a lot of money, sometimes not knowing how we were going to pay the rent or buy groceries. My dad worked hard his entire life as a roofer but sometimes life catches up to you and you find yourself in need and at the mercy of others’ generosity as well. But no matter how much or how little we had ourselves, my parents would still do what they could if/when they were able. And I know for me personally, I have also had to rely on other peoples generosity to help out during hard times. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the kindness of others.
This reminds me of an important verse from the Bible where Jesus talks about this very thing:
“I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me…I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these, you were doing it to me.”~Matthew 25:35-40
When we take the time to ask someone’s name, to lend a helping hand, to be kind, it’s like we are actually helping Jesus. And to take it a step further, when we take the time to help others, we are actually being the hands and feet of Jesus because He cared for us first and we are asked to go out and do the same.
Everywhere Jesus went He helped people in practical ways. He met peoples needs. He lifted peoples burdens. He hung out with and spoke to people that everyone else ignored. You might think that a few dollars here or there isn’t a big deal but it is a very big deal to that person. Or saying a friendly hello to someone you pass by on the street that most people ignore, offering to buy them a coffee; you’ve just brightened their day. There are so many people hurting in this world and it is our responsibility to lighten that burden in any way we can, big or small.
We might not be able to do everything, but we can definitely do something. And you never know who you are helping or the impact you will have in that one persons life. Put yourself in their shoes and I’m sure we would all agree that we would want the same thing, the same kindness, the same helping hand reaching out towards us.
What are some practical ways that you can be kind or help someone today?