Random acts of kindness are wonderful things.
I remember being a little girl and riding in the back seat of my Mom’s car with my sister. We’d be driving on the Garden State Parkway, AM radio (providing the soundtrack for my early life) turned up loud. Back then tolls were only 25 cents, and my mother, free spirit that she is, would often pay the toll for the person behind us. As we drove away we always looked behind us to see what would happen.
The reactions varied. Some people argued with the toll collector, others would quickly speed off, hoping they could get away cleanly before the “mistake” was discovered. Sometimes people would catch up to us, smiling and waving. Sometimes people drove by without even looking our way. No matter the reaction we were always smiling, laughing, and feeling good about what we had done. And, really, 25 cents was no skin off my Mom’s nose, even as we struggled financially.
Even better than random acts of kindness are the kindnesses we do for the people in our lives. Doing things because they make someone else we love happy, even though they may not mean much to us.
For example, my mother doesn’t just sign a greeting card. She underlines the words and phrases that best represent how she feels. Sometimes there’s one line, sometimes two or even three if she feels really strongly about it. Once I even got a four-liner.
Sure, sweet. But a little annoying, too. I rolled my eyes every time. When I was younger I’d send her cards, but I wouldn’t underline anything. Eventually, after I got over my anger and resentment about her mental illness and just accepted that she really did the best that she could, given what she knew, I started underlining phrases in cards I sent to her. After all, it was no skin off my nose, but it made her happy.
I’ve had this conversation with Husband before, about his mother. A telephone call in the middle of the week, just to say hello, would make her day. A big hug and kiss when he sees her instead of a perfunctory kiss on the cheek would make her swoon. And, really, it’s no skin off his nose to do it. Same with his sister, or his grandmother.
Husband loves it when I look to the right as we cross the train tracks and report on whether or not a train is coming so he can look to the left. When we see a train approach while we’re driving somewhere, Son loves it that I always stop the car so he can watch it go by, even if it means turning around.
No skin off my nose. And it makes them so happy.
Simply acknowledging the people I love in little, thoughtful ways is such a powerful healer, a day brightener, a blues lifter. For the people I’m acknowledging, and for myself.
Funny. Whenever I focus out my in feels better.