Thursday, November 24, 2016

Kindness Wins: Please Take it as My Gift to You

Happy Thanksgiving! This week, as I've thought about moments of kindness given to me, I've felt especially grateful for the wonderful people I am surrounded by. I could write daily stories of kindness for MUCH longer than one week!

As part of an assignment for a college Humanities class, my roommate and I had the opportunity to drive up to a monastery in Huntsville, Utah to visit some monks and observe their lifestyle and devotion. The monks graciously welcomed us. One elderly gentleman ushered us into a small room where a video was played, outlining their daily routine. They lived simple lives, and earned money for their humble needs by farming and running a small gift shop where they sold homemade bread, honey, and a few other items.

We were invited to sit in the chapel and watch one of their prayers, and we marveled at their complete devotion and reverence. They woke each day at 3:00 am and spent many hours throughout the day in prayer. Their quiet lives added to the feeling of peace and stillness present in the stunning spring mountain backdrop.

Our professor had strongly suggested that we try the honey they harvested and sold in their shop. It came in a wide variety of flavors, so I grabbed three containers and prepared to purchase them. The monk running the shop was not completely silent, but preferred to keep speaking to a minimum. As I approached him to pay for the honey, I discovered that they didn't accept debit cards and I didn't have enough cash.

"Please take it as my gift to you," he said simply. I was flustered. "Are you sure? I can put some back..." "Please take it as my gift to you," he repeated gently. His sincerity was so evident I felt I couldn't turn down his offer. And so we thanked him, gathered the honey, and left, touched by the kindness and devotion of these monks.

Most of the monks have now passed away, and the monastery will soon be closing. But their faith and kindness will be forever ingrained in my memory.

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