With only two items in my cart, I approached the crowded bank of COSTCO’s checkout lines summoning up patience for the long, tedious wait. A woman with a fully loaded cart, pointed to my left. “Why don’t you try that line, it’s shorter.” I thanked her, got on the line, and the person in front of me motioned. “Go ahead of me, please, you’ve only got two items.” We exchanged smiles and I acknowledged them both. “Thank you, I see there are still some kind people in the world.”
Why do I make such a big deal out of such small expressions of kindness? Because when focused on, they add up, they matter, they represent the kind of world I want to live in.
As a rule, my morning starts with the troubles of the world. Often the content of Breaking News is repeated throughout the day; the same incident is often repeated day after day in its entirety.
What we expose ourselves to repetitively, can have an effect on us, psychologically distorting the reality of our personal lives. We can identify with the repeated incidents on the TV screen even if we are not involved personally. While weighing the facts of observable reality, we need to balance their effect on our emotional reality. I’m enough of a realist to acknowledge the world’s evils. But I feel the need to counteract the impact on my life with the kindness that surrounds me.
With this in mind, I decided to make a point of observing and tallying acts of kindness that I experience or observe in my day-to-day life, or the lives of those around me.
I received a text with the photo of a colorful skirt. “A friend gave me this,” the message said, “but it’s not my style. It would make a perfect SHAMc outfit for you, and it’s yours if you’d like” An addition to my tally of acts of kindness.
Friends were celebrating my birthday at the Spa lounge. As we laughed, listened to music, danced and ate cake, a complete stranger stood watching. “You have such wonderful friends and it’s clear that they love you.” Gesturing to the bartender, he said, “Put her next drink on my tab.” And he walked away to join his own friends. Another addition to my tally.
In the days that ensued, I was inspired to show kindness in simple ways. As we do what we can to address the world’s larger problems, perhaps we could all focus on the simple ways that we can make the world around us a kinder place.
Perhaps we can help make the journey through this troubled world a little easier for each other.