September 17, 2020
By Mervat Denno
One of my favorite lines came from the 2015 live action Cinderella movie. Early in the movie, Cinderella’s mother admonished young Ella with, “I have to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer. Have courage and be kind.” These words have resonated in my heart for years and often have been repeated from my lips in our home as a challenge to our own daughters. But I have never seen the power of those words until our world faced a pandemic and our country race tensions and a presidential election all at the same time.
According to the Webster Dictionary, the word courage means mental or moral strength to preserve, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty while the word kind means a sympathetic or helpful nature. These descriptions seem almost non-existent in our culture today and yet having courage and being kind is described as the secret to surviving trials of life… what if Cinderella’s mother is right?
Last month, we went out to breakfast to celebrate my husband’s birthday. It was our first restaurant visit since Covid and we were looking forward to making memories. We immediately realized that the seating outside was limited to two-person seating, not capable of seating our family of six. Peggy, the waitress, offered no helpful solutions to our dilemma but instead met each suggestion with the no. No, we cannot combine tables, we cannot bring out a bigger table from inside, we cannot move chairs, etc. With each “we cannot”, she grew more defensive and even looked worried. As we sensed her tension, our heart broke for her and in response, we thanked Peggy, offered to be flexible, reassured her that we understood, and even offered to eat on the grass nearby. Peggy, who was anticipating a conflict, was surprised by our response and her demeanor changed slowly becoming more peaceful, calm and accommodating. Before we ate, we asked Peggy how we could pray for her, she responded with, “please pray for healing of our country and more kindness, we need more kindness”.
It turns out having courage to preserve difficulties while maintaining kindness was not only the way we will make it through trials, but also how we can help others make it through. More importantly, having courage and being kind is also the way people will know we belong to Christ.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35, NIV)
If our actions speak louder than our words, what are our actions saying to the those around us? What if we dared to “have courage and be kind”? How will we impact those around us? Would our kindness see us and those around us through the trials of life? And if so, will it cause those around us to praise our Father in heaven?
“…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NIV)
Go ahead, have courage and be kind.