I am about to share a story about a random act of kindness I was fortunate to receive earlier this week. As I was thinking about the how, when and where of the experience, the word random keep reappearing in my mind. And then the question and pondering began. Random! Why are acts of kindness random and even more perplexing, why are they given such hype and media exposure. Why are we so blown away by acts of kindness. These thoughts really do give us pause, don’t they? Random acts of kindness should not be so random but rather, acts we all engage in each day. One would expect kindness to be common place in our lives enacted through the lives of others. That kind actions should be part of our soul journey through life, easy, without thought, natural. In fact, I wish the title of this blog was simply, acts of kindness. Here is the story of my experience.
It is a beautiful warm summer here in my small part of the world with cool breezes wrapped around hot, humid sunbeams. Today the breeze is exceptionally refreshing after some rather intense heat filled days, calling me to walk my dog along streets covered with beautiful old elm trees lining shady pathways. I am plunged deep into thought and am one with nature enjoying the sounds all around me. It is a rather quiet walk silent of the sounds of passing cars and motorcycles. As I approach an upcoming street corner, a van comes to a stop and a young man exits carrying a colorful box which appears to be from Tim Hortons, a coffee shop chain visited by most who tout the coffee is the best in the world. The young man begins to walk towards me. He reminds me of my Godchild Louis when he was that young age of around 16. The young man opens the box and offers me a donut decorated and sprinkled pink and white. I am taken aback and a little suspicious. Do I accept this food item or not? Is this young person trustworthy? What is in that donut anyway? Doubt and distrust enter my thoughts and yet the look on his face is enthusiastic and kind. What should I say? And so I reply, ” Thank you so much for the offer, that is very kind of you, but as I ate a lot of pizza last night, I will have to decline your kind offer.” (Maybe too much information.) He looks disappointed but, recovers rather quickly and instead asks, “Would you like a water,”to which I reply, “Sure.” I had not noticed the van turn the corner and pull off on the side of the road. The young man proceeds to the van and I trail along after him. As I near the van, I ask if his mother is driving and he replies,” no” with a smile, and then offers me the following explanation. “These are all my friends.” The van has four occupants, between the ages of 13 to 17. They are celebrating one of the occupants 15th birthday by doing random acts of kindness in the community. I am given a red rose and a bottle of water and I proceed to engage in the most uplifting conversation with these young kind men. I tell them the world needs more people like them and how meaningful their acts are. Their faces beam with the innocence of youth. I tell them I write a blog and that my next publication will be about their acts and reflect their kindness. Excited, the eldest of the four and driver, request that I mention their friends 15th birthday, the reason for their enthusiastic deeds. I assure them I will and wish them well. My dog waits patiently to continue on our way carrying the red rose and bottled water. My smile wider, my heart warmer, my footsteps lighter, my soul touched, gratitude for the kindness bestowed upon me. I pass the red rose to another I meet along the way paying it forward. Her smile touched my heart. A red rose. How symbolically fitting.
Random, yes. My wish, that we could all give and receive kindness each and every day. Simply, acts of kindness and compassion given from a place of love to lift the lives of others. If you have ever been the recipient of an act of kindness, I ask that you recall the feeling it evoked in your heart. Now stay with that feeling for just awhile. It is that very feeling that your own heart will hold, when you bestow an act of kindness upon another. Both the recipient and the giver experience the very same feeling. It is a shared experience at the same moment. Even people who are witness to your experience will have their heart strings plucked. Acts of kindness, songs for the soul. Have a beautiful day. Be open to the possibilities life presents. Be kind to one another.