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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Random Thoughts and Random Acts

I definitely have not found the Christmas spirit this year. In fact, I put away the few decorations I had set out.

So I decided to carry out a random act of kindness in an attempt to find at least a bit of the holiday spirit. As I went through the check-out line at the grocery store early this morning, I noticed a man in line behind me with a bag of three doughnuts. I told the cashier I wanted to pay for his purchase, too. He first said no, but I told him I was just paying forward a similar kindness someone had done for me and to please let me do this for him. So he relented, thanked me and went on his way. Now buying three doughnuts isn't a big deal, and the total cost was less than $2, but I hope it brightened this man's day just a bit. And I think the cashier appreciated this little act of kindness as well.

As I was walking my dogs later in the morning, I recalled a time some 20+ years ago when my husband at the time and I, along with our dogs, would make up a couple of plates of homemade cookies, fudge and fruit cake and deliver them to the sailors standing guard at the gate to the naval air station. This was in the 1990s, before acts of terrorism made it impossible for our military to accept gifts from unknown people. I worked for NASA, which occupied one side of the naval air station site.

The look on the face of the sailor pulling a boring guard duty on Christmas Eve as we drove up and handed over a couple of plates of homemade sweets was priceless. These sailors were young, probably around 20 years old or even younger, and most likely spending their first Christmas away from home.

We carried out this tradition for several years, until the naval air station was closed and the gate guards became rent-a-cops. Somehow I was no longer motivated to carry on the tradition after that.

It's a shame traditions such as this have gone away because of the actions of a few misguided individuals who might want to poison the food, fill it with ground glass, etc. I would love to take some homemade goodies to a local police station or fire house. 

Since I can't do that, I have challenged my Facebook friends to perform a random act of kindness (or several) during the holiday season. And now I'm challenging you, my readers, whichever country you live in, to do the same thing. You don't have to say what act of kindness you do, but I would love to know that people are doing something nice for others during this season of giving.

It doesn't matter whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu or none of these. It doesn't matter whether you celebrate Christmas or not. I simply would love to see people around the world carrying out random acts of kindness as an antidote to the hatred, cruelty and suffering in our world. You can do anything, from buying doughnuts for a stranger to holding a door or visiting a shut-in neighbor. Your act of kindness need not be expensive or take a lot of time. It is, after all, the thought that counts. And we never know just what that kindness may mean to someone.

If you want to share your act of kindness, I would love to hear about it. If you want to keep it to yourself, that's fine, too. Just think what a difference we can make in the world if millions of people start to do something nice for someone just because, with no expectation of anything other than brightening the day of someone who may desperately need a bit of kindness.

 Will you join me?