World Kindness Day is coming up on Tuesday, November 13. While this is a day bringing focus to various initiatives around the world, it can also be a day to give focus in one’s personal life.
Hopefully, we all try to bring kindness into the world each day. There are so many little and painless ways to do that. And generally, whatever small kindness we bring delivers back to us. I know that those times when I have found a way to be helpful to someone, whether a stranger or a loved one, it makes me happy.
During a rambling conversation with a new acquaintance on this topic, it was interesting to see how readily certain moments of kindness stood out in memory – some going back years.
I could see how meaningful it had been for my acquaintance to help a woman stranded in the cold with her three children a few years ago. They were locked out of their car, late at night, far from home, and with little money. He got them warmed up in his own vehicle while he gained access for them to their own car. He smiled but shivered when he remembered how long it took him to warm himself up after finally returning home. It was, however, a night that remained happily in his memory with all the details.
These kinds of memories also included those times we were on the receiving end of another’s goodness.
Like the time some years ago when I was stuck on a roadside in the middle of nowhere. I had pulled off the side of a lonely country road to get a picture. When I hopped back in my car, I discovered that one of my tires had conveniently found a niche in the turf that held my vehicle trapped. I pushed and pushed and worked the problem to no avail.
Just as I was getting ready to start walking, a pickup truck came along, and then another one. The two knew each other. They got out, and with many smiles and much friendly laughter, pushed and pulled my car out of its predicament.
What a beautiful memory that is for me. It was a wonderful kindness in the moment, but it is a gift that keeps on giving. It brings a smile to my face even now.
Of course, many kindnesses are much simpler: a thoughtful word or a smile, or a simple gesture. There are so many opportunities every day for these small but essential expressions of our care for each other. And the impact of such kindnesses may be bigger than we know.
It’s also fun to be intentional about it, figuring out ways to bring a moment of kindness very deliberately, perhaps randomly, into the world.
I remember when I discovered my first painted rock on a trail in Florida (the lady bug in the photo). I had no idea why it was there, but it presented a happy little surprise that changed my day.
Maybe it’s knitting hats for those in need of warmth, or donating to a food pantry, or using some elbow grease on a local project. Who knows?
It’s something I am thinking about today: noticing the spontaneous opportunities for kindness that present themselves, and the ways I use my personal gifts in deliberate fashion to brighten someone else’s day.
Be kind! You know it’s a beautiful thing. 🙂