My husband and I play a tablet game called Hay Day.  We spend time on it almost every day (some days more time than others) and almost always wind down in the evenings with a little “farming time” together.  In the game, we grow crops, take care of the needs of various animals, and make products that we can sell and trade both inside our game and with other farmers in our neighborhood.

Our neighborhood friends are mostly unknown to us except by their farm names.  I am Angie’s Place (very creative) and my husband is Green Acres of Carbondale.  We also have Moosic for Ewe, Poe-tay-toe, Chicken Dog Farm, and our neighborhood leader is Paradise Clucks.  Every day we converse about our farms.  Does anyone have cotton to spare?  I have land deeds – anyone want to trade for duct tape?  I need one apple pie to complete a truck delivery.  Over the years, we’ve talked some about personal things.  Often someone will let us know if they are going to be gone a few days on a trip and once in a while someone will share they haven’t been farming much because of something that’s going on in their family.  We know a couple of them live in England, one used to work in a celebrity restaurant in Los Angeles, and one speaks four languages.

I wouldn’t know any of them if I passed them on the street, but I have come to care about the people in our neighborhood and look forward to spending a few minutes with them most days.  It’s just something I enjoy, something that my husband and I enjoy together, and something that is a welcome pause from my days that too often feel rushed and demanding.

Which is why this week I was so caught off guard when I was sitting with my iPad listening to some Christmas music on Pandora (oh yes, I was) when the little message notification popped up on my farm.  I touched the red circle and read the message: This is Nana’s daughter-in-law.  I wanted to let everyone know that Nana passed away this morning.  People began commenting right away:  I’m so sorry.  We are going to miss her so much.  She was always so sweet and helpful.  Thank you for letting us know.  Her daughter-in-law wrote back again to tell us that Nana’s family was sitting around the afternoon of her passing and someone said – What about her Hay Day friends?  We have to let them know.  She loved farming with them.

I was reminded how significant and impactful kindness is.  I don’t know anything about Nana-Farm except she was kind.  She gave others what they needed if she had it, offered extra tools for farm expansion, and put goodies up for all of us on a regular basis.  Whatever the last days of her life were like, it did not diminish her capacity for kindness.  She was helping us all even just a few hours before she passed away.

Kindness is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit in the book of Galatians.  For those of us who are Jesus followers, acts of kindness are an essential part of our witness.  Who will be drawn to Jesus through someone who withholds and withdraws?  Nana’s passing has reminded me how simple acts of kindness can draw people to us and provide us the opportunity to bless their lives with our own.  I used to have a refrigerator magnet that read – Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a battle.  Nana didn’t know my battles and I didn’t know hers.  But Nana knew kindness is always needed and she showered us with it.  And in doing so, she blessed my life.  Goodbye, Nana-Farm.  I will miss your tools, your goodies, and most of all your kind heart.