In my opinion, one of the greatest contributions to our world, from the newest millennium (besides the gorgeous “millennial pink”), is the concept of “paying it forward”, or “random acts of kindness”. Although there have always been “random acts of kindness”, we’ve seen the surge of them as a real byproduct of the attacks on 9/11. Those horrifying moments; that horrifying day froze the world in its tracks. The thought that people could do THAT to other people, and on such a grand scale, was overwhelming. But nature abhors a vacuum. The outpouring of generosity and love for and from our neighbors was equally overwhelming. The true beauty of human nature bloomed in the wake of the ugliest situation.
I’m thrilled to my core each time I hear about a random act of kindness. I love hearing stories of folks taking time out of their day to consider someone else; especially a stranger. These are the people we need more of in this world. We need to heal our own wounds with thought for others. We need to fill ourselves with outward action. Whenever I’m feeling down or having a craptastic day, this is what I turn to; a random act of kindness; paying my blessings forward. Even the tiniest of gestures takes my mind off of myself and turns it toward goodness for someone else’s benefit.
My biggest fear in the execution is getting caught. I do not want to be put in an awkward situation of the recipient gushing with thanks, or worse, trying to pay me back! My reward is imagining how the person felt when they realized that someone acknowledged them, even for a moment. My reward is imagining that maybe, just maybe, my small anonymous gesture raised the spirits of someone who might be having a worse day than I.
On these days leading up to the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America, consider how you can serve another. I know several organizations and companies coordinate a day of service to commemorate the day. If you are not involved, do something on your own. It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t even have to cost anything. Consider what would move you and do that unto another. My favorite is to pay ahead for someone’s coffee (of course it is), but it could be as simple as letting someone go ahead of you at the grocery check out. Or running ahead to hold a door for a mom with a stroller.
How great would it be if these acts became habit? How amazing would your community be if the members really did take care of each other? I know that we have a culture that is “live and let live”, but what if it became “love and let live”?
1 Picture from: www.gop.gov/911-we-will-never-forget/
2 Picture from: www.gajizmo.com/random-acts-of-kindness-ideas/
3 Picture from: www.jinxiboo.com/blog/2011/4/6/sharing-kindness.html
4 Picture from: www.virginiaservice.virginia.gov
5 Picture from: Starbucks February 2017