By Lyndsey Hafer-Williams
Oct 13, 2018,
We live in a cruel, harsh, and oftentimes, unyieldingly unkind world. We are bombarded on a daily basis with stories of insensitivity and injustice. The inability of others to communicate with civility and basic manners has become commonplace and consistent. As a society, it would appear on the surface, that we are doomed to live in a climate of hatred, hopelessness, and hostility. We are always threatened by the dark, menacing clouds of suspicion, separation, sensationalism, and senseless violence. It’s enough to depress the hell out of you!
But, keep reading my friend, as I have a story to tell you about acts of kindness – and every single word is true…
Early one morning not too long ago, I went to a local grocery store, the kind where you need a quarter to get a shopping cart and (of course) I couldn’t find a quarter anywhere! I had several dollar bills but no quarter. As I was standing there searching every corner of my purse, a kind gentleman said, “Here, take my cart. Don’t worry about it.” I tried valiantly to persuade him to take one of my dollar bills, but he refused, smiled, and just wished me a good day. His ordinary little act of kindness was so sweet and it made me smile.
After the grocery store I swung through the drive-thru of a local coffee shop. I ordered my usual and when I got up to the window to pay I was told that the car in front of me had paid for my coffee as well as a pastry of my choice! I declined the pastry (Shit, that was hard!) but gladly accepted my free coffee. This ordinary little act of kindness was so unexpected and it allowed me to pay for the person’s order in the car behind me.
I was on my way to my next stop, and at a red light, there was a young woman standing there with a cardboard sign that simply read: Hungry. I watched as the man in the pickup truck in front of me, leaned out his window, and handed her a little plastic bag of what looked like convenience store goodies. I can only assume that it was his lunch, and I was inordinately touched and immediately teared up. His ordinary little act of kindness was so genuine it made me feel happy.
Across the street from that red light, I stopped at one of our local animal shelters to donate some things I had been collecting for them. As I walked up to the shelter, the box fell out of my arms and everything in the box spilled out. THE GIRL WITH THE CARDBOARD SIGN SUDDENLY APPEARED AT MY SIDE AND HELPED ME PICK IT ALL UP! And, what’s more? She refused to take the few dollar bills I still had in my pocket. Her little act of kindness was so precious that it overwhelmed me with utter joy.
Finally, I got home and as I was pulling into my driveway, I was met by a neighbor who was bringing me a huge container of her homemade salsa. She knows that I love her custom recipe full of sweet onion, spicy cilantro, tart lime, and juicy garden tomatoes. My heart was just so full from everyone’s small kindnesses throughout my day that I was grinning from ear to ear with gratitude for life and my fellow humans.
And then I flipped on the radio and heard there was an active shooter in Cincinnati, Ohio. Someone had been shot and buildings were being evacuated. A press conference was being held. Local law enforcement was on the job. Unfortunately, we all know the drill. Here we go again… I was completely defeated. My bubble burst and the wind swooshed out of my sails.
But as I stood there listening to the details of yet another senseless act of violence, feeling low, it occurred to me that I should not let the angry actions of a few steal the love I had felt from many. Yes, the world’s problems are very real and they should not be ignored or glossed over. But, it dawned on me that we humans are so much more than the news and social media would have us believe.
I had been witness to it all day!
I made the choice, right then and there, that every day I would try to effect change in my immediate world through little acts of kindness. I could offer small things to bring a smile to someone, anyone, known and unknown. Because, my friend, you know what? These seemingly ordinary acts of gentle kindness, to ourselves, our loved ones, and our unknown neighbors all add up to extraordinary deeds of magic! And that can change the world.
Did someone surprise you recently with a small act of kindness? Tell us about it in the comments and let’s keep this conversation going.
- 1 cup blackberries (130g)
- 1 cup quartered grapes (160g)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons ground chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (more or less, depending on how sweet you like your jam)
- Place the blackberries, grapes, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over medium – low heat for 3 minutes, stirring often.
- Turn off the heat and add the ground chia seeds and the maple syrup and stir.
- Mash the fruit with a potato masher and transfer the jam to a glass container and allow to cool before storing in the fridge. This jam won’t get super thick like store bought jam, but it will thicken up a bit as it cools.
- This jam will stay good for about a week in the fridge.
- You can use any combo of fruit you like.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with small acts of kindness.