Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Narrative of My 35th Birthday and the 35 (Random) Acts of Kindness

I hope my friend does not mind me posting this...but I think this should be shared with the world.....If more people in the world were like this, the world would be a much better place!

This is a facebook post made by a friend of mine named Christine....this is how she spent her birthday:

For those who asked to about my day. I know that my account is lengthy, but I just couldn't chop anything out! Here it is...

I loved my 35th birthday. It was the first time that I allowed myself to stop thinking of my needs on my birthday. Self-pity and self-centeredness are hard to navigate through. No thanks, don't want them. Not this time. Not this birthday! I don’t know about you, but for me, the big S's only give me unproductive ruminating thoughts that stifle my following actions. I did not want any part of that on this birthday, so I chose to change it!
I wanted a YOU centered birthday instead of a ME centered birthday, so I chose to serve. I wanted a GOD centered birthday instead of a MATERIAL centered birthday, so I chose to act with kindness. I wanted a FAMILY centered birthday so that we all could grow. I wanted something that stretched my boundaries and pulled on my heart strings. I wanted to feel it deeply. I wanted to touch the authentic emotion.
Yes, I planned it out to an extent… so to all of you language purists, my part was not so random. The random part of the action fell upon the person receiving the act of kindness. In turn, their reaction created an uncalculated emotion inside of me. Voila!
So, to all that are interested, I will list the events of yesterday, sequentially. I hope that the deep emotion that I felt during the day is tangible on paper.
Oh… and I forgot to add, being public with my life does not come easily to me. Writing in my Facebook status that I was planning on the 35 Acts of Kindness was a feat of it’s own. The last thing that I want you, the reader, to think is that I am being boastful. Truly, putting myself into the ringer immediately produces sweaty palms and a knotted stomach. But, I’m pushing myself this time. I won’t ever get anything done if I stay inside my box and you won’t ever know about it unless I open my mouth (or click away at the keyboard).

  1. Breakfast in bed for the hubbie with a note of thanks for everything that he has provided for me. I started with the person that is most significant in my life.
  2. Flowers for the kids, a huge hug, thank you, and encouragement for the day.
  3. Flowers delivered to the widow next door.
  4. Cookies and a greeting to the neighbors that live two doors down. We haven’t ever addressed one another before, even though we see each other many times a week. When the family opened the door, they first asked what we were selling. They acted amazed that we were just saying hello. They were very gracious once they understood that our motives were simple and kind!
  5. A treat for the mailman. We were lucky enough to meet him on his route! His smile was the largest out of anyone that we gave to the whole day.
  6. A call to my Dad to thank him for all of the support that he has provided in my life. This act brought on all the tears. As many of you know, my Dad and I have a strained relationship. This may have been the hardest act of the day.
  7. Sent a snail mail letter to an old friend. This was directed to my oldest friend that I love like sister. Super easy to write, but I am generally awful thinking of and performing out these deeds. Mailing things is not my specialty!
  8. Sent another snail mail letter to someone that I have lost contact with. Another hard act to face, but I am hoping that it will be fruitful. I am often filled with self-doubt when I think of all the friends that I have lost contact with. What was it that they did not like about me? But really, when I admit it, I know that I am the worst when it comes to calling someone to say hello. I easily contribute to many of my failed relationships. My box is safe and if you are outside of it I may not communicate often. Down with the box!
  9. Donated clothes to a local shelter. Easily done! This is one that I do often, so I didn’t stretch my self too far!
  10. Provided a friend with one of our material possessions that we don’t use (but it is still in fantastic shape)! Well, really this was Benj’s act of kindness… but I was the middleman! He had a great pair of NEW Dickies jeans just sitting in his closet. We chose the man that we thought most deserved them (and was the coolest) and then delivered!
  11. Gave cookies to a close family friend that helps us out often. This lady also has a mother who recently began living with her due to medical needs. She often takes care of her grandkids (who are my kids good friends). We definitely caught her off guard and I can only hope that she wasn’t too embarrassed that she was still in her robe. But, bottom line is that we love and appreciate her!
  12. Thanks given to the bank tellers with a plate of cookies. I interact with the bank tellers weekly but never say much to them beyond the ordinary hellos.
  13. Struck up a conversation with the cashier at our local food mart after pumping gas. I asked her things that I normally wouldn’t have and I was so surprised at how lovely she was!
  14. Helped folks with their grocery carts. We offered to put them away after unloading. The people loved this, offering many thanks and blessings upon our day.
  15. Handed out single roses in the parking lot. I approached and the roses were readily accepted! Smiles!
  16. Gifted a single rose to the cashier at our grocery store after a purchase. Her reaction was so joyful that I immediately broke into tears… but I was not done in that line…
  17. I turned around and handed a grocery store gift certificate to the person standing behind me in line. Again, I was sobbing and immediately exited the store with my family. I want to be honest with you here. Before performing this act, I caught myself judging the man behind me. I was assessing if he needed the gift certificate or not. He looked well groomed and had nice clothes. His child did, too. I even allowed myself to think that he may take the act the wrong way and take offense. Then, I willed myself to go through with the act AND I was so surprised at his unyielding gratefulness.
  18. Again, provided a store shopper with a gift certificate while they were entering the doors. I also gave this lady a single rose!
  19. Intentionally smiled at others all day!
  20. Provided the corner newsstand man a soda. It gets hot down here in Harlingen!
  21. Dropped off cookies and a rose to our local community garden angel! This woman lives by herself, she immigrated from Mexico (yes, legally you stiff-ies), works as a housecleaner, transports herself daily by bicycle, successfully saved the money to build her own house, etc… I could go on for a long time. She also tends to everyone’s garden at our local community garden. She gives out kindness daily!
  22. Responded to all of my facebook messages and did so when I first viewed them. Ok… another confession time… I am awful at procrastinating when I receive a message. I always think that I can do it later, but what I need to do is show the person the respect and respond quickly. Uggghhh… trudging through deep mud!!!!! This one is hard for me.
  23. Visited one of the sweetest ladies at our church. Cookies distributed! This visit was very beneficial for me. The lady that we visited is a joy to be around and very funny. She was stricken with Polio as a child and has had issues with her health since.
  24. Gave the sweet lady a hug. I am not an innate hugger. It takes some planning on my part to reach out for a hug. Yet, I realize the importance of human touch and how we thrive when we have it. It will be lifelong work for me!
  25. Brought flowers to the local librarians and gave them a verbal list of appreciation. I love our library here. We attend about every 2 weeks, so some librarians even know my kids’ names. I was told that the children’s librarian receives more complaints than compliments. This boggles my mind since most of the programs are FREE.
  26. Provided sodas to three lawn-care workers. We shared and they were more than grateful. Honesty again, I hesitated beforehand. These men looked rough and were the type of people that I usually tiptoe around. My preceding thoughts were proven wrong… again!
  27. A larger than usual tip to the Starbucks drive through attendant!
  28. Coffees and cookies to a local fire station. This one was unusual. The fireman asked why we were giving them the treats and continued by saying that we support them already with our tax money! They did graciously welcome the treats in the end.
  29. Provided a soda for the newspaper girl stationed on the median of one of our major roads.
  30. Taped quarters to the vending machines next to the emergency room at our local hospital. I LOVED this one.
  31. Starbucks coffees given to the sweet labor and delivery nurses. These ladies were the jolliest bunch of people that we came across the whole day. They were eating a cake given to them by a patient that said, “Nurses kick a**!”
  32. A plate of cookies given to a large family in the hospital waiting room. They were very hesitant at first, but then warmed up after a countdown of about 10 seconds.
  33. A gift certificate given to shopper at Lowe’s. I sought out this family and the father was more than gracious.
  34. Roses distributed at a local nursing home. I brought in a bucket full of roses with the intention of giving to a person that does not have many, if any, visitors. When I asked the attending nurse, she directed me to a lady that she described as ‘speaking a lot, but no one listens.’ I gave her a rose and listened. Before I knew it, I was directed into the BINGO room where I had the exact amount of roses per person. I first gave to the ladies and everyone was more than willing to receive. I then approached the 2 men. The first man was reaching out to me before I even got to him. He was mumbling incoherently and as I gave him the rose he said, “Thank you, Mama.” I wasn’t prepared for that uncovered deep emotion and cried the whole way out!
  35. I paid for the order behind me at a fast food drive through window. This was hard to convey to the cashier, but, again, after that 10 second countdown and persistence, she finally understood and smiled. Mission Accomplished!!!!! Wooo-hooo
  36. I left doughnuts and quarters at a local laundromat. The ladies in charge were really confused when I explained what I wanted to do. They automatically assumed that I was selling the doughnuts. It took them at least a minute to shake that idea that I wanted something! Again, once understood they poured out ‘thank yous’!
  37. Flowers left at a friend’s house after swimming with the family.
  38. Yard work for a neighbor.
  39. Cookies to a church member.

And the list continues… I don’t want to stop now! I realize how easy it is to be KIND!

1 comment:

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