Acts of Kindness
Kori and I were talking last week with the Lenten season upon us and we knew we wanted to do this season differently than we have in the past. We are not Catholic but we are Lutheran. In the past we have sacrificed something for the season but this season we decided to change it up. We decided to do one act of kindness a day. I know we just started yesterday but somehow things feel differently this year. Yesterday without even thinking about it, I saw a man struggling with his big garbage bin and I just jumped in to help him maneuver it without regard to my own time. Today we got what seemed to be the 6thbig snow of the year. After over an hour of plowing out our own driveway, I headed across the street and plowed out our neighbor. He helped me with my driveway after the first snow and I was glad to be able to return the favor.
Why is so hard for many of us to do something nice for someone else? I think we are so wired to take care of ourselves and our families, that the interests of others rarely enter into our thoughts. Maybe that is part of the problem. Maybe if we were thinking more outwardly than inwardly our perspective would be changed. Maybe if we cared as much for strangers as we do for our own flesh and blood we would look at the world differently. Protecting my own little world and all the people that live in it, has been the only thing that matters for me for a long time. There are few minutes in my day that one of my loved ones doesn’t enter my thoughts. When one of them is depressed or sad, I am depressed and sad. When they call to tell me some exciting news, I could be having the worst day ever but to hear their news just brightens my day. My sun rises and sets on my own little world.
Perhaps getting out of my own little world and expanding my view of things will help me view my family and the world with a new appreciation. Being so invested in my family’s emotions isn’t always that healthy for me. Is it possible to not always take on the emotions of my loved ones? Can I still love them but not be brought down by their bad day? Is what I am suggesting even possible? Or, do I even want that?
Thinking of others is a skill that I have not attempted to perfect over the years. I do believe when people have a more worldly view their small perspective gets much bigger and priorities can be changed. So join me this month in random acts of kindness. When normally you would make an excuse to not help someone in need, just do it. Decide to step up and do something just because you can. Tell someone that you appreciate them. Buy the food for the person behind you in the drive through line. Hold the door for the mom with the baby stroller. The opportunities present themselves daily so be ready to act. Kindness is something every one needs in this world. Be that person that is ready to jump in when the opportunity arises. Believe me you will feel differently about your world when you do!