Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Whoa, PC gets philosophical today....

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?

That's sad.

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?



Stephanie Jones said...

I live in a small town where folks seem to often help each other out so I get to see many acts of kindness. Just the other day at the mall I saw a teenage boy helping an older lady to her car with her packages. I assumed that she was his grandmother then as I was walking past them I heard her say, "Thank you so much for helping me. I really appreciate it." Then he turned and walked back into the mall getting to the door as I did. So I asked him, "Was that your grandmother?" He said, "No ma'am. She just looked like she needed a hand." Wasn't that nice! In a world where so many teens get bad publicity it is nice to know there are still good guys out there.

Smarty Pants said...

The other night, about 9:30, in the cold and the rain, there was a knock at my door. My neighborhood isn't really a 'help your fellow man' kinda neighborhood, so I very suspiciously opened the door. It was the guy across the street letting me know the cabin light was on in my car. I hadn't quite figured out what to hit to get the light to come on when I opened the door so I'd been turning it on, then forgetting to turn it off. His quick jog across the street saved me a potentially dead battery come morning. Very nice.

I try to look for opportunities to help people. But I do need to try harder. Not just now, but all year. I also need to (*gasp*) let other people help me, which I never do. The bagboys at Publix are always stunned when I turn down them putting my groceries in my car. Its their job, but if I can save them one trip out in the cold, I will.

Playground Monitor said...

Oh gosh, the whole last 18 months of my life have been filled with random acts of kindness (well, except the attorney who, wonderful as she is, charges for her time). We see and read so much about the bad in the world and there so much good out there just like everyone's pointed out. It really takes so little time to help someone with a door or point out a car light is on. But too many folks are so self-absorbed they can't see the world around them.

I'm a good deed doer by nature, but I'm afraid I let my own woes get in the way of doing for others last year and this. I intend to change that.

PM's Mother said...

What a coincidence -- just yesterday I held a heavy door open for a gentleman who was struggling to get his wife's wheelchair through it. I didn't look on this as a random act -- it was just something that needed to be done.

Sherry Werth said...

That was really nice of your neighbors son! We could have used that act of kindness on Friday. We forgot the trash too.
I was raised in the deep south and I swear my Granny would pop out of her grave and scold me for not holding the door for the person behind me. Sometimes they don't respond at all just push on past without saying a word but then you get the ones who look surprised at the act and then give you a big smile and a thank you. That makes up for the others. Nice post PC.

catslady said...

One of my favorite movies was Pay it Forward. I really do think that after someone does something nice for you that you are inclined to do the same - sometimes not even realizing it. It's something we all need to do more often - it makes everyone feel better. The real Christmas spirit should be year round. Thanks for a great post.

Angel said...

Truly inspiring. As I mentioned last week, I've had a lot of helping hands lately, and though this isn't a small thing, I received just one more gift over the Thanksgiving holidays. My step-father spent part of his time here putting new brake pads on my suburban. He was worried because they kept squealing.

Wasn't that awesome?!?!