It’s Thanksgiving. You probably have a turkey to cook so I’ll make this quick.

What do you do when you’re too broken to be kind?

Like when you’ve been up all night with a sick baby.

Or you’ve been walking on eggshells so you don’t offend your in-laws– and then crack, one of the eggs breaks and all hell breaks loose.

Or you’re dreading this whole holiday season because it’s the first time you’ll have to “celebrate” with an ex-husband. Or without a loved one.

There are times in our lives when kindness feels too hard. Too big. It’s a job better left to someone else. How can I possibly be expected to make cookies for the neighbors when my household is crumbling around me?

I know a woman who lives several states away. She has her own kindness ministry and sends me letters every so often so we can compare notes.

The last letter she sent me tore out my heart. She said she was thinking about shutting down her kindness crusade. She is going through a divorce and gets weary at even the thought of spreading the message of kindness.

She is broken.

Then she said something in her letter that struck me as a tiny kernel of brilliance. She went on to describe how “quiet” her acts of kindness have become. Now she sees it as a win if she can muster the energy to lift her head and smile at the store clerk. Or stand for just a moment longer and hold the door for the person behind her.

And I thought, “Wow… that’s just what some people need.”

Some people don’t want to be the center of attention or caught in the middle of a Random Acts of Kindness parade.

Some people just need another hurting person to make eye contact.

In that moment, kindness is quiet, but it is also powerful.

God made so many of us, so different from each other, so that we could give in ways that reach all of his people. Even the broken ones.

Your brokenness, your vulnerability is the soft space to land that someone else needs. Even if it’s just for a moment in passing.

God’s not going to stop using you as His vessel just because you’re broken. If that were the case, God would have run out of vessels long ago. After all, we’re all broken.

So what do you do when you’re too broken to be kind? Look for those people who are hurting, too. The chance to briefly, quietly connect will be healing for both of you.