We got 4 inches of snow overnight and when my husband came out of work to get in his truck to come home, someone had shoveled a path beside his truck making it easier to get to. This certainly was an act of kindness that didn’t go unnoticed. Others in our community at times have left extra money for coffee for the next person or plowed neighbor’s driveways - all spreading kindness around.
Suzie, blogger of The Abundance Highway, wrote a post a couple of days ago on random acts of kindness when she talked about picking up litter from the beach. We could take that to our own home towns and pick up litter on playgrounds or parks. It made me think of other acts of kindness my community has received and experienced in the past year and a half.
On Sept 27, 2006, our Rocky Mountain community changed when a gunman entered our high school holding 7 girls hostage and killing Emily Keyes making national headlines. Her last words text messaged to her Dad were, “I Love U Guys”. As a result of this horrendous incident, the community rallied around the family and law enforcement and came together for healing with support showing random acts of kindness in honor of Emily. Instead of bitterness and hate came love and it was not only demonstrated by businesses, neighbors, and teachers but more importantly by the students.
We saw people planting flowers for others and students cleaning up yards, $20 was left at a café to buy sodas for the next 20 customers, people showing up volunteering and helping with food for law enforcement officers during their investigation. Healing comes from reaching out to others in love and kindness. There is kindness within us and is being offered everyday around the world. We don’t need a tragedy to remind us how important life is to be valued and what part we can play to make it a better world. It starts in our homes and communities and can spread.
I’m reminded of the powerful and moving 2000 movie Pay It Forward where a junior high school boy takes a challenge seriously of an assignment from his social studies teacher in making a difference in the world. He decides to help 3 people without anything in return except for them to pay the kindness forward to 3 other people. His thinking was that if we all took our part this would spread exponentially around the world.
In an interview with the author of Pay It Forward, Catherine Ryan Hyde, she describes where this idea for the book came. Her car broke down one night and caught on fire and 2 men came to her rescue helping her and putting out the fire. She wanted to repay them but she was told, “Don’t pay it back to me.” “Pay it forward to someone else”. She goes onto say in the interview, “Then I spent the next 20 years wondering what kind of world it would be like if an idea like that caught fire.”
Imagine what kind of world it would be like if we each, like Suzie at Abundance Highway, our mountain community, or Trevor the junior high student, found a way to spread kindness. Maybe, we could leave extra change for the next person coming through a toll line or scrape off the windows of the car next to yours when you scrape off your windows. Help an elderly person living in the neighborhood by offering to get their groceries once a week to name a few.
It’s not just when the need arises that kindness is important it’s when it comes unexpectedly and unprompted. It touches your heart and makes you feel that maybe the world isn’t so bad after all. Most times, little does the person know that what they did may have not only saved your day but saved your life?
From the kitchen table - Pat
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