NEW CASTLE —
What small act of kindness were you once shown that you will never forget?
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it's all too easy to forget about the random and incidental thoughtfulness that others throw our way. I got all giddy and almost clapped my hands like a little kid when I came across this question, because I simply adore anything that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
So I set about to thinking, making a mental note of all the acts of kindness, random or otherwise, that I've had the good fortune to be the recipient of in my life. My warm fuzzy ignited into a solar flare as memory after memory of times of simple human kindness compiled themselves into a list far too long to amass.
I received many acts of kindness, both big and little, after my husband's death, and I'm eternally grateful for everyone who touched my family's life at such a horrendous time. I'll always remember those, and when I need a reminder of how to treat someone else's grief, I pull those memories out and dust them off like cherished heirlooms. But those need to stay out of sight on the top shelf of the closet most of the time, because displaying them on the mantle would bring as much sadness as it would gratitude.
The simple acts of everyday kindness, then, are the ones I use to feed my soul: the random stranger who laughs at my overheard joke, the person in front of me who holds the door, the child who offers my child a cookie on the playground. I can't help but think that these people show kindness because they've been shown kindness, and it makes me want to show it, too — to spread it like a cold germ in a pre-school classroom.
I want everyone to catch it, because I want so badly to believe that if you treat people right, maybe they'll treat you and everyone else right, too. I want to believe that, in this complicated world, it really is as simple as that.
There are times in life when you need to be wise, or cautious, or tolerant. There are times when you need to be patient, and times when you need to be brave. You know when these times are, and when they arrive, you put to use the things you've learned and do what you know needs done for the moment.
But kindness is an altogether different virtue, because there is never a wrong time to be kind, never a situation where kindness is not the appropriate action. The receipt of kindness should never have to be earned, and the giving of kindness looks wonderful on anyone. Help do your part to spread it, because God knows, the world needs it.
"The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines." — Charles Kuralt