Lifestyle of Kindness
What if we all lived such a lifestyle that random acts of kindness were the norm? What if so many random acts of kindness were being performed in our community, that each day became an adventure because we would never know what unexpected blessing was coming our way? One of the reasons I enjoy checking the Torch’s email account is because I never know what I am going to find in there. We have met amazing volunteers, had surprising donations, and been blessed to hear from so many people through that account. I always have a pleasant sense of anticipation when I get a chance to check the email. Sometimes, I just check it because the day is going rough, and I never know what happy surprise might await.
Unexpected surprises and blessings can bring a smile to my face, and turn the most difficult day around, even if they don’t solve all the problems I face. Random, unexpected acts of kindness make this life journey feel less lonely. They don’t even have to be costly or difficult. Have you ever caught somebody’s eye unexpectedly in a grocery store or some other public space, and had them give you a friendly smile? Unless they work there (or sometimes even if they do work there) - that can take me by surprise, and I always smile back. It has become my goal to be the first person who smiles. It’s not like it’s hard to smile, but I don’t always do it. And it costs me nothing - I have to practice to make it a habit.
I can’t tell you how many times, when we are out serving dinner, moms have told me they did not know the food truck was going to be in the area, and followed that comment by telling me how much they truly appreciated it because they didn’t have to cook that night. And I always say, “Good! That’s why we are here!” Unexpected guests to the truck are a blessing to me! Unexpected meals are a blessing to them! It’s a win-win situation.
I know that recently there has been a resurgence of the random acts of kindness movement. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that movement, except I wonder if it sets limitations on kindness. In some ways it is sad that we get so excited when we do one kind thing for a stranger every so often when we are prompted to. But, what if that were not the novelty, but the norm? I think the random acts of kindness movement does not go far enough in its challenge to humanity. If we really want to change the world, our everyday lives should be populated with random acts of kindness to those around us - over and over again, regardless of whether or not those acts are Facebook-worthy.
It would be awesome to live in a society where, instead of dreading the moment we have to face the world, we are filled with pleasant anticipation and excitement because we don’t know what unexpectedly lovely thing is going to happen that day. And wouldn’t it be equally as exciting to prepare for the day wondering how I will be able to surprise someone else, and even how many surprises I can make happen? What would this world be like if random acts of kindness were the norm, and the desire to surprise others with our random acts of kindness consumed our thoughts and kept us alert and watchful for opportunities? Just thinking about a world like that makes me smile in anticipation! I think I’m going to start a movement called, “Lifestyle Acts of Kindness”.
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