I came upon The Random Acts of Kindness website one day and after reading what the website involved I decided to embark on a journey of my own. I devoted 1 month to what I call My Random Acts of Kindness project.
After having been divorced for 4 years, I found it harder and harder to get my life on track. I was suffering from depression, and I was living a life of going to work and coming home to lie on the couch. One night I woke up from a nap, tired of the same ole same ole and decided enough was enough. I took a long hard look at what my life was like before my marriage. Having been married for 28 years, I had to take a look way, way back into my past.
I married at a young age, and so my entire life was either spent in the presence of my parents or in the presence of my husband. I no longer wanted to spend my life alone, I wanted to seek out people and try to help them any way I could. I enjoyed helping others by whatever means it would take to make their lives more enjoyable and eventful.
So the Random Acts of Kindness Project began. I started out small at first simply giving smiles to people that would stare at you as you walked by. I noticed that at first they would look at me weird, but in their own way a small crack of a smile would appear on their face. Had I made their day? Had I made a difference?
I’m fortunate enough to work for a small private all Girls college in Missouri. I work in the Mail Room which is the ultimate place to begin the quest of giving people “Life Lifts” on a daily basis. I refer to small acts of kindness as Life Lifts simply because that’s exactly what they are. I started at first by simply telling people how great a job they were doing. Then it progressed to telling the students at the school how awesome they are, how lucky I was to be around them and watch them grow into womanhood. It was exciting to see tiny little flickers of light go off in everyone’s brains. So, I carried the quest even further. I began to randomly place greeting cards in mailboxes on campus.
A simple “thank you” to the custodian that cleaned my building, telling her thank- you for the great job. I proceeded to tell her that it was so nice to walk into the building each morning and not only see how clean it was, but to smell the clean as well. I never signed my name, I remained completely anonymous. Even if the above mentioned person came to me with tears in her eyes because she got this anonymous card and couldn’t believe someone reached out to her, a simple custodian to tell her how great of a job she had done. It was breathtaking!
I went on to the Administrative staff, thanking them for all they do, one by one seeking out office workers that worked hard, but never smiled when they came to the Post office to pick up their mail. I then went on to faculty and students. I’d randomly leave little tidbits of kindness in random mailboxes each day, never once divulging who I was.
Then something miraculous started to transpire. I became a happier person. My heart became filled with joy, each time I left a card for some unsuspecting soul. I noticed that everyone around me became happier too. People were friendlier to each other. They all seemed as if they were enjoying their jobs more. Could one simple act change an entire campus into a more work friendly place to be?
After weeks of sending out cards, candy grams and letters, I noticed that the whole idea of this Random Acts of Kindness Project was addicting. I couldn’t get enough. I found myself daily trying harder and harder to find someone to make happy. Only finding someone wasn’t that hard, and the results started to react on me. I became friendlier, more outgoing, and happier.
I decided to span out and joined a group of people in my town who were working on a fund raiser for a young girl who had Melanoma. The group was putting together a barbeque and auction to help raise money for the family. I was totally in. I went to the meetings, made phone calls for donations, and the more donations I received the more I wanted to get. The day of the event was unbelievable. The amount of people that showed up was as mind boggling as was the amount of money that was raised for this event. I had brought my camera and I took over 200 pictures of the event. I told the girl’s mother that I was making a “Memory Book” for her. I told the mother that the “Memory Book” was for her sick daughters grandchildren someday. I gave her hope that her daughter would overcome her illness. The mother cried pure tears of joy. I was overcome with joy myself. It was a simple act of kindness that didn’t require a lot of skill, just sharing in the moment to help the family overcome their sadness and despair.
I was coming out of my house one day and I spotted my neighbor moving from her home. I yelled to her and she walked over to talk to me. I asked her why she was moving and she replied that she could no longer afford to rent the home. She has a son 17 and a daughter 12. Her situation is very similar to mine, single mother trying to make ends meet. We did have something very much in common. This woman was moving back home to her parents. I had done this several years ago after my divorce, so I knew exactly what she was feeling. This woman proceeded to tell me how bad she felt that she couldn’t stay in this home that her children had lived in for the past 5 years. She felt bad that she couldn’t afford to buy Christmas presents this year, and the only thing her daughter wanted was a bike. This moment was magical for me. I had a semi-brand new bike on my back porch that I was getting ready to sell. I could no longer ride it due to a recent knee injury, and I knew that it was time to get rid of it, get it off my porch. This bike was a nice dirt bike with all the bells and whistles. Magenta in color with stripes of gray it looked streamline going down the street. I asked this woman if she had a moment and to follow me. I took her over to my porch and told her of my recent dilemma of no longer being able to use the bike and not wanting to put it back in my basement. Then with a pure heart, I asked her to take the bike. I did not request a dime for the bike, all I asked is that when the time was right she pay it forward to the next person in need. Her face streamed with tears of joy, and I felt like the richest person in the world. I had succeeded at the Random Acts of Kindness Project, I had found joy!
A few months went by, and while I was on Facebook I noticed that everyone was posting items pertaining to what they were thankful for during the month of November. Since Thanksgiving was right around the corner, people were posting something they were thankful for on a daily basis. By the end of the month the posts were almost ridiculous in the fact that people were actually running out of things to say. Some of the posts became so silly that people were thankful for their ability to think, ability to be thankful etc.
So on December 1, 2012, I decided to post a story of my own. I watched all the postings during the month of November for things that everyone was thankful for. I never spoke a word on the subject, yet I practiced Random Acts of Kindness during the past few months and I am overwhelmed by all that I have learned.
I want for nothing, yet I got it all!
The joy in my heart is overwhelming, and you truly find friends when you least expect it!
Unconditional love is the best kind of love!
When giving from the heart, without bias, truly then can you find your bliss.
I gave my bike away – and watched a desperate, lonely woman cry tears of joy - and that my friend is better than any $$ amount I would have been given if this bike had been sold.
I sent unsigned cards to unsuspecting people that just need a life lift! Lifting people up with a simple “I appreciate you” or “You are awesome” was astounding.
I participated in “Everyone Eats Columbia”, feeding the homeless over the holidays. This friends was better than anything I can ever describe.
Helping “Hurricane Sandy” victims by simply collecting bags of clothing for donations in more ways than one, made me feel like I was there helping to lift these people out of despair.
Helping Lane Goodwin, a child dying of Cancer, simply reach 100,000 likes on Facebook in his “Thumbs Up” champagne priceless. A simple picture of myself taken while holding my thumb up, allowed this child, a hero in my eyes to raise awareness for childhood cancer.
Having Thanksgiving Dinner with “new friends”, overwhelmingly joyful!
Spending the last day of November in the company of my 1st Missouri Friend, one of my best days of the month! I found my joy! I am thankful!
It doesn’t matter if you list 30 days or not ...in the end we are all blessed! It’s how you look at this world from unconditional, loving eyes that really matters.
And so on one last note…I leave you with what I learned by words spoken by Almeta Clayton as 100 or more volunteers gathered before feeding the homeless and hungry during the Everyone Eats Dinner. “I don’t care if you are black, white, purple or green. Gay, straight, or whatever sex you choose to be….we are all loved by God and no one should ever eat alone”. These words are priceless!
It’s the time you spend, that 1 second, minute or hour that you share with a stranger that could change their world forever – because in the end we all matter! We are all important, whether we are black, white, gay or straight! We are all important to God.
The Random Acts of Kindness Project was my door to the truth. It allowed me to love mankind again. It allowed me to see people through the eyes of a child and to feel the innocence that children have before they are manipulated in their thinking by their peers. It taught me to once again live.