The Kindness of Strangers

Carefully planned vacations can become even better when recalculations happen. 

My friend Betsy has something her family calls an anything can happen day.  It’s a way to travel without any set plan and respond to opportunities rather than planning an itinerary. 

Yesterday was an anything can happen day. 

We arrived at the small local grocery store right after it opened to look for something for breakfast. The gracious staff at the market opened up the closed for the season dining room so we could sit and eat our skyr and what the Scots call digestive biscuits (i.e. cookies).  One of the employees carefully made us the best cappuccino and latte we’d had in Iceland, served in lovely cups and saucers.  She then made our  takeaway order, and refused to take payment.  The kindness of strangers 

In Iceland, hotels offer amazing and abundant breakfast buffets.  This simple breakfast with what was available was as wonderful as any of those served at heavily laden tables. 

Looking at maps, my friend and I created our own Ring Road to circle the Westfjords in cold, rainy, and windy weather. It was a perfect day for experiencing Iceland’s stunning and rugged beauty.   We came upon a local handcraft cooperative where I found some handknit slippers to replace mine damaged beyond repair in the flood. We had a picnic overlooking a moss covered lava vista. 

Driving anything can happen gravel roads in the rain can turn a white car brown.  Since the car was too dirty to even see out, we stopped at the car wash near our night’s resting place. Car washes in Iceland are free, and consist of a brush attached to the end of a hose. While we waited our turn for the one brush hose, a fellow traveler from Maine found another hose and proceeded to rinse our car while we waited.   The kindness of strangers. 

Much has been said about the extraordinary response of stranger to stranger since the flooding in Houston.  I know that I experienced it time again from both friends and strangers that became neighbors, in the Jesus sense. 

I continue to experience this in Iceland. I think of one of my favorite hymns: 

As Christ breaks bread and bids us share, 
each proud division ends. 
The love that made us makes us one, 
and strangers now are friends, 

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