Trash day around here is Thursday. Except Thanksgiving was Thursday, so the trash didn't run. I did hear the trash men early Friday morning, racing through the neighborhood. I could tell by the noise that they were hauling butt, and I couldn't really bring myself to run outside in the cold in my PJs to try to make it.
But I was now awake, and unable to go back to sleep. I got up, since the Darling Geek had no problem sleeping through that, and I didn't see any reason to get him up too. Oddly enough, out my kitchen window, I see the neighbor's kid, home from college, in my driveway. Very close to my house. I find this strange and hard to process early in the morning. He sees me and waves, so I step out on to the porch to see what's going on.
Seems he'd been out for a jog as the garbage truck came by and noticed we didn't have our trash can down at the curb. So he came and got it. Then, after it was empty, he brought it back up to the house. Because he didn't want us to have to go a whole week with a full trash can.
There's a random act of kindness for you! (And I will be telling his parents what a good job they did raising this young man.)
This reminded me that I not only need to be aware of and thankful for the random acts of kindness I receive, but that I should really be looking for more ways to randomly be kind myself.
I think it's partly a matter of being observant. How many times have I missed the opportunity to do something kind for someone just because I was too busy checking my email on my phone to see them struggling with a small child and a large bag and a heavy door? Or just been too busy to go back and help?
So I made a decision to spend the holiday season -- a time rife with stressed and busy people and many opportunities to really hate our fellow man -- to consciously look for ways to be kind. *And* to be kind without the expectation of anything in return other than a good feeling in myself. That should be good for my mental health.
Now, it just so happens that Sunday was the first day of Advent, and in one of those "oooooh, weird" moments, shortly after I made this decision to look for ways to be kind to others, I happened upon a reflection for Advent that included the following:
We live in a world in which bigger and better define our expectations for much of life. We have become so enamored by super size, super stars, and high definition that we tend to view life through a lens that so magnifies what we expect out of the world that we tend not to see potential in small things. But as the prophet Zechariah reminds us (Zech 4:10), we should not "despise the day of small things," because God does some of his best work with small beginnings and impossible situations.
I think there's a good message there, regardless of your faith and religious leanings. Small things -- like random small acts of kindness -- have such potential to make a difference. Bigger isn't always better, and it's not always what someone needs at *this* moment in time.
So thanks, Joe-the-neighbor's-kid, for taking down my trash, reminding me to be thankful for little things, and reminding me to take time to be kind to others as well.
Have you been the recipient of any random acts of kindness recently? Care to join me in my quest to be randomly kind to others?