As I was running down the sidewalk on Main Street one day this week, I approached a moving truck, which was parked outside an apartment building. Two men were carrying a heavy chest of drawers across the walk to the truck. They were directly in my path. As I slowed to allow them to pass, they motioned for me to keep going. “No,” I said “that is heavy. You guys go.” They insisted I continue. One man told me “We don’t want to slow you down.” I smiled, thanked them and continued, but I thought about that small act of kindness for the next few miles.
It made me think of all the times I have been the recipient of acts of kindness, both large and small. I don’t think that there is a balance sheet being kept, but I wonder if I have been on the receiving end of kindness more than I have been the giver. I may have some catching up to do.
There is a diner that my hubby Bill and I like to go to for breakfast on the weekends after our long run. The waitresses are efficient and pleasant. The coffee is good and the food is tasty, especially the potatoes. These are shredded rather than sliced, a mound of crispy brown deliciousness beside your eggs. Slather them with hot sauce, and you have a breakfast made in heaven!
One Saturday morning not too long ago, we noticed an older man eating breakfast with a younger woman, possibly his daughter. The man looked a little bit unsteady, and the young woman was helping him with his breakfast. He was wearing a ball cap that identified him as a Viet Nam Veteran. When our waitress came over to give us our check, Bill asked for their check too and requested that we remain anonymous. We paid both checks and left the diner before the couple finished breakfast.
This act of kindness did not surprise me. My hubby is a good guy, generous and compassionate. His kindness is spontaneous, not premeditated.
One of the things that amazed me when I first started writing this blog (only 5 months ago) was the kindness of other bloggers I have encountered. When I first started posting, I didn’t know what I was doing at all. I joined a blogging group on Facebook and asked all kinds of questions, which experienced bloggers answered patiently and with kindness.
I nervously opened a Twitter account and a Facebook page to connect with other runners and bloggers. I had heard the horror stories about the negativity rampant on social media and was hesitant to get involved. To my amazement, 99.9% of all the people I came in contact with were encouraging, positive and kind. A typical exchange on a runner’s Twitter account goes something like this:
Runner A: I ran 5 miles this morning.
Runner B: Awesome! You are a rock star!
Runner C: Way to go!
Runner D: Congrats!
The only thing missing from this sample conversation is the emojis.
I hear in the media about self-involved, egocentric teenagers, but in my 30+ years of teaching, that was generally not my experience. Sure, there were some issues. I had to step in a few times to prevent bullying, and kids are definitely now absorbed with their phones, but the majority of students I came in contact with were altruistic and kind. I once had a boy in class with Tourette’s syndrome. The other students not only ignored his outbursts and tics and treated him just like any other student, the prettiest, most popular girl in class picked him to be her lab partner so she could help him with his work.
All major religions advocate kindness. The Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Hindu text, states “When a person responds to the joys and sorrows of others as if they were his own, he has attained the highest state of spiritual union.”
The Christian Bible tells us to write kindness and truth on the tablet of our heart. “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.”
The Dalai Lama provides many wonderful quotes, but perhaps my favorite is a simple one about kindness. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
Kindness is always possible.
- Smile at a stranger and say “Good morning.”
- Send a positive text to a friend.
- Donate old towels or blankets to an animal shelter.
- Write a positive comment on a blog or social media account.
- Pay for coffee for the person behind you in line.
- Contact a favorite teacher to tell him/her how much you appreciated them.
- Compliment a parent on a child’s good behavior.
- Buy some food for a homeless person.
- Be kind to yourself.
What kindness is written on the tablet of your heart?
I am linking up with Patty, Erika and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run. Love these running-related blogs! I am linking up with Shank You Very Much for her Dream Team link up. I am linking up with Holley Gerth for Coffee for Your Heart. I am linking up with Eclectic Evelyn for her Words on Wednesday link up. I am linking up with Debbie at Dare 2 Hear. Check out the inspirational posts on her Tune in Thursdays. I am linking with Random-osity for Little Things Thursdays link up. I am linking up with Penny’s Passion for Thinking Out Loud Thursday. I am linking up with Jessica and Amy at Live Life Well. If you like this post, you may want to visit to read what other bloggers have to say! I am linking up with Anna Nuttall for her Bloggers Link Up. I am linking up with Jamie Sumner for Sunday Thoughts. Visit here for faith-based posts from many other bloggers.