So I have this person who I admire. I mean, really, REEEEALLLY admire. She’s always been made of awesome and filled with win, and when her young daughter (who is delightful!) was being bullied at school, this lady – we’ll call her Susan, because that’s her name – went to the teacher. And the principal. And the parents. And the school board. And on and on and on until she stopped it.
Oh, and she and her daughter are now known at a national level for the Guess Anti-Bullying Foundation which they started. That in turn gave life to Paducah Kids for Kindness, and now they’re both extremely busy helping others to deal with, avoid, and STOP bullying, all while spreading kindness and encouraging others to do the same.
I don’t know Susan (that’s her name… Susan…) that well on a personal level. Not because I don’t adore her, because I totally DO, but because although our circles overlap, A LOT, we just haven’t had the opportunity. She’s married to the brother of my dear (departed) friend Kristy’s husband. We’re from Kentucky, so that’s how we roll. Somebody is married to (or used to be married to, or is kin to) someone we know. Not up in here, Kevin Bacon! We don’t need six degrees of separation. I see her at weddings and funerals, and around town from time to time. I might have accidentally dated HER brother once or twice “back in the day.” We don’t hang out. We don’t go shopping or out to lunch or to get mani/pedis together. We are not girlfriends. But she inspires me near DAILY to do better, and to be better.
Isn’t she lovely?
So anyway, I digress. (But Darlin’ we have met, so this is not a new thing.) Susan is fixing to (yes, still in Kentucky, folks) turn 50 in December – I know, she doesn’t look it! – and rather than gifts, she asked a simple thing of her friends on Facebook. She asked for 50 random acts of kindness in honor of her birthday. Just 50. Didn’t have to be big or grand or anything… my random act was tipping the pimply kid at Sonic $5 for my half-price happy hour diet cherry limeade. He was floored. Some folks have made larger gestures, sure. One person repaired the heat at someone’s home for free. Cost him about $150 and a few hours. Some have bought meals for the homeless. One lady bought an abandoned Chapstick for a frustrated customer at Wal-Mart and chased the disgruntled guy down in the parking lot to give it to him. I am SURE he thought she was crazy, but I bet it made his day.
I want this. I want these random acts of kindness to continue, long past Susan’s birthday and long past the holiday season when we are all in a joyful and giving mood and we know the jolly guy is watching. I want to see people being KIND to one another in January. I want to make someone smile for NO REASON in February. I want to shock someone in March. And so on. You get the idea.
So here’s the thing. I can do that. I am so insanely blessed and my heart is so OVERFLOWING with joy in those blessings, that I can totally do that. And you can, too. You can give a hug to the kid who probably doesn’t get many at home. You can help the little lady in the Piggly Wiggly (yep. Kentucky) reach the can on the top shelf. You can give someone with an armload of stuff in Wal-Mart your buggy (well, that’s what WE call ’em).
And I beg you to. I encourage you to. He commands us to. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32, King Jimmy Version.
And as for Sweet Susan? I just checked her post and she’s up to 99 reported random acts of kindness for her birthday, which is still well over a month away.
So what if, after Susan’s birthday passes, we stop thinking of what we’re doing as “random acts of kindness” and just live our lives that way? What if it became a habit… a way of life… something we don’t even THINK about anymore, something we just do, just because?
Think about that, Darlin’, and then go do it.