Today is a national holiday. I know! I had no idea either. As it turns out you can look up all sorts of holidays at nationaldaycalendar.com and find that each and every day is a national holiday of some sort. Why this week alone we’ve celebrated National Plum Pudding Day, National Tortellini Day, National Gumdrop Day and National Cabbage Day. Personally, I could do without a few of those but there are others, like World Nutella Day that I can totally get behind! So back to today, it’s National Random Acts of Kindness Day. Good thing I was listening to the radio on the way to appointments this morning or I would have totally missed the festivities! Being the friend that I am, I don’t want you to miss out either so here are a few random thoughts, because it’s a random day and I have a million things on my list for the day and random is about the best y’all are going to get today so there it is and here ya go …
Random Acts of Kindness from Others
Standing at a drive-thru line one day and watching as a streak of 18 cars paid for the order behind them. 18 cars! Some of those didn’t pay for the full order because $25 extra is just too far out of budgets for many of us on any given week. But even those cars chose to put $5 toward the car behind them instead of just driving away with a thank you. Hmmm, there’s an idea I had never thought of. I still wonder how many people’s days were made in the clutch of that handful of minutes?
Pulling into our local Aldi at the end of a long day, 2-week grocery list in hand and no quarters in the change cubby. It’s impossible to gather 2 weeks of groceries without a cart. Like holding back the tide impossible. But it was the week a guy randomly walked up to me and said, “Here take my cart. I don’t need a quarter.” He had no idea I couldn’t scrounge up a quarter that night, but his timing was perfect.
It’s all in the seeing of another
Years ago on a particularly stressful day, we had moved our homeschooling to Panera because we were in desperate need of a venue change. It was a decision based on the rising tension in my own soul, and most likely those of the 4 kids as well. Life had taught me that an audience of strangers could prove to be just the accountability needed to circumvent the Mama meltdown that was being held at bay.
We spread out across 2 tables in between meal rushes and studied for a few hours. About 90 minutes into our venture one of the young gals working there approached our table bearing 5 chocolate chip cookies. You know the Panera stuffed with chocolate chips, big as your face cookies? Yeah, those ones, 5 of them. The message she was requested to deliver was that a fellow customer was impressed with how focused the kids were as they went about their studies that she decided we needed some cookies. Never mind that I had pretty much read them the riot act before we ever stepped foot out of the van and into the parking lot that morning. The kids munched contentedly on their cookies while I bit my lip and held back the tears that threatened the more I thought about her kindness.
Why does this one seemingly small act still stand out to me more than others? Honestly, I don’t know. Except that it had been a tough day. Parenting had been intense. Bottom line, I remember feeling just plain raw that day. And I don’t have to tell y’all that chocolate and cookies are two of my love languages, I have a few more languages than most. And it was another Mama. Another Mama who saw me. Who saw my kids. Who chose to be a cheerleader in our lives that day. The stress that I had felt rising up into my throat and threatening to escape just a few hours earlier didn’t even matter. The frayed relationships of the morning had no bearing on her random gift. She just saw us and chose to give us a high-five in the form of chocolate chip cookies.
It means “the God who sees”. It’s one of my favorite names for God. It touches the very core of our being in ways we didn’t know we needed.
I have a sweet, albeit crazy, group of geographically scattered friends who pray for one another and send ridiculous memes back and forth. One of them in particular makes a habit of saying, “God sees you” when another of us asks for prayers. Not “God loves you” or “Praying for you” though she says those too but, “God sees you”.
It’s what this whole random acts of kindness thing really boils down to, isn’t it? This idea of beign seen. Knowing we’re not alone provides the needed courage to endure so much more than we would ever imagine we possibly could. Even if it’s simply a smile, a free grocery cart, food enough for an entire car full of hungry tummies, or best of all, big-as-your-face chock full of chocolate chip cookies for each and every one.
It’s the choice in a moment’s time to bless another. It’s an atta-boy, high-five, I see you. It’s the, “I don’t know your story and how you may or may not have messed up or how you may or may not be hurting, but even if I did, it wouldn’t matter. I see you and I choose to be kind. End of story.”
And somehow this “end of story” can be the beginning of an entirely new and beautiful chapter. Crazy how little it takes, isn’t it? So how about you? How have others chosen to randomly touch your days in the smallest of ways?