By Linda Commito
Gifting kindness to each other during challenging times can go a long way in keeping us connected and inspired.
Tucked away in our homes, viewing life through a computer, TV screen or window, we may not be as aware that there are many inspiring acts of kindness being performed every day and that we can still be active participants. In the middle of the night, I awoke and thought, “I’m going to look on Facebook and see what I can find about kindness.” The first thing that I read was from a friend, Louise, who experienced an anonymous act of kindness in Sarasota, FL, and has decided to pass it on. It was a great start!
“Yesterday I got a surprise gift from some sweet soul who put a dollar bill inside one of the items I purchased at the grocery store. I was so inspired by this generosity that I decided to pay it forward. And so today I will go to a store of my choosing and place this $5 bill in something that I feel will be of use to some individual. Doesn’t matter the amount, just the gesture alone means so much. It’s a feel-good thing for sure!”—Louise
We never know what a difficult time someone is going through nor how they might be touched by a simple kind word or deed:
Another friend shares her experience: “It was the morning I was furloughed from my consulting job with a hospital. Even though I expected it, I was a little bit in shock. As I was driving, I got pulled over for going 10 over. The first act of kindness was from the officer who saw my hospital badge. He asked if I worked there and I said I had just been furloughed. He said he was sorry and only gave me a warning. I drove away shaking and decided to go to Starbucks to pick up my son’s favorite latte. As I handed the barista my card through the window she said, “The person in front of you paid for it. My second act of kindness on that hard day. I gave her a tip and drove away with tears of gratitude on my cheeks for that sweet stranger.”
I wanted to know other examples of what people are doing to be kind or how they are experiencing the kindness of others, so I sent an email to friends asking for examples:
Gift of Life and Health: What could be a greater gift than giving someone the gift of life, an extension of time with loved ones, an opportunity to fulfill a need, or to leave a legacy?
Tom, a dear friend from Colorado, now living in Rhode Island, didn’t think twice about donating his left kidney to his step daughter’s father in-law, Doug. Tom says, “I’m grateful all went well. I’m no hero. It was just the right time to do the right thing.” At the time, Tom thought, “He needed one. I’ve got one.” And ironically, they share more than a kidney now. Four days after the surgery, both became a grandfather to baby Cody. And at 62, the year his own dad died, Tom finds it a slow recovery, but he remembers his dad’s motto: “In life, you try to do the best you can with what you have.” Tom’s dad would be proud!
Community Sharing: Paula in Loveland, CO, shared, “Some folks in my neighborhood got together to offer free soup and pie to anyone who wanted it on the day before Thanksgiving. Also, on NextDoor.com, neighbors are constantly offering to help others. It seems that the hardships we’re all witnessing are bringing out compassion in many.”
Little Free Libraries: I love the little free libraries (LFLs) that are showing up in communities, where neighbors or passers-by can pick up or drop off a book to share. The 10 members of AWG (Awesome Women’s Group) of Sarasota not only built and serviced three free libraries in their neighborhoods for a few years, but they recently pooled their money to purchase a bright blue, durable model to be placed at SOAR Learning Center, a community-based K-3 after-school program. Now kids of all ages, their parents and anyone in their community will have easy access to a new source of quality reading materials.
Messages of Love and Appreciation: We long to see and be with our loved ones and friends. Sometimes a loving phone call, card or email may be the best way we have to express our caring.
My 93-year-old Aunt Pepine, who lives several states away, is mostly confined in her third-floor walk-up apartment, relying on the kindness of her nephew Ronny to bring her groceries. I sent her a loving card and picture followed up by a phone call a few days later. It was wonderful knowing how much the connection meant to both of us.
Andlet’s not forget to be kind to ourselves during these difficult times. For me, it’s going out for a walk in nature every day, alone or with a friend. And there is nothing like hugging a tree to feel good.
We are all in need of a little extra kindness these days—and we are the perfect ones to gift it to each other.
Linda Commito, author, speaker, entrepreneur, consultant and teacher, is passionate about her vision to leave this world a kinder, more loving, and interconnected place. Linda’s award-winning book of inspirational stories, Love Is the New Currency, demonstrates how we can each make an extraordinary difference in the lives of others through simple acts of love and kindness. Her latest project, the card game Just Ask 1 2 3, was inspired by a desire to connect people of all different ages, beliefs and lifestyles to share our individuality and find commonality. Linda also created “Kindness Starts with Me,” a program, book and website for children. For more information visit http://www.LoveistheNewCurrency.com or visit the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Justask123game.