A Little Bit of Kindness Goes a Long Way
For Lent this year, I decided not to give anything up.
Nope. I'm still eating chocolate, and drinking sweet tea; I still find myself gossiping a little bit and being a bit too sarcastic.
Instead, I'm "taking something up."
I've decided to practice kindness in as many ways as I can, as much as I can, everyday.
Webster's Dictionary defines kindness as "practicing a nice deed," or "the quality or state of being kind or pleasant."
I'm dedicating myself to doing an actual "act of kindness" once a week...something that is planned-ahead, and intentional, and involves some foresight. (I'm doing one of them tomorrow, and am excited to see how it goes.)
But in between those bigger moments, I'm trying to be kind in the little ways too.
Just today I was coming out of the grocery store and found an elderly woman unpacking her groceries into her car. She looked tired and weak and all it took from me was a simple, "Can I take your cart back to the store for you?" She smiled and said thank you. I returned her cart, walked back to my car, and there she was, still getting along pretty slowly... settling herself down into her driver's seat. She gave me a little wave and said, "Thank you so much," again to me.
This little act...so small, so simple...brought a smile to my own face and a little lilt to my heart.
How often do we not do those things that we should be doing? Those little acts of kindness that might make more of a difference to someone else than we can ever know?
* opening a door for someone
* letting someone walk under your umbrella when an unexpected rainstorm comes up
(I was the recipient of this just last week. I was at Delaney's All State Choir practice when a deluge just happened out-of-the-blue. Sydney and I were caught without an umbrella, until a woman came up and offered to walk us to our car. It was a good distance away from our own car, but she just offered her help willingly and with a smile on her face. She said goodbye with a, "You have a blessed day," and I truly felt blessed because of her kindness.)
* asking a cashier how she's feeling
* giving someone a compliment
* telling your child your proud of her
* taking your spouse a drink (unasked for)
* calling a parent just to tell them you love them
* helping someone with their groceries
* treating a stranger to a cup of coffee
* taking an elderly neighbor their mail
* telling someone "Thank you"
The poet William Wordsworth once said:
"That best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love."
And probably my favorite quote from Mother Teresa is this one:
"We can do no great things. Only small things with great love."
I may not think that the things I'm doing are "great." But if I'm doing them out of love and kindness...with good intentions...with the idea that I am helping someone else...then those small deeds can, truly, become great.