My mom is one of the most genuinely nice people you’ll ever meet. Honestly, she is probably a little too nice! Even when someone is truly in the wrong, my mom is still trying to see things from their point of view. She always gives the benefit of the doubt. "I bet you misunderstood," or “You don’t know what they are feeling,” she’ll say…statements that can quickly drive me up a wall when (per usual) I feel I’m right and they are wrong.
She works hard but rarely complains. She is driven even when she is worn. She doesn’t raise her voice and it’s hard to get a rise out of her…. and you know as the baby girl, I tried my best during those rock ‘em, sock ‘em, early teen years.
But with that kind spirit, come those little life lessons she is forever trying to teach my brothers and I. Well, mainly me. My brothers are also a bit too nice for their own good. Single ladies take note! Nice guys available! But back to those life lessons…others might call them cliches, but because she truly lives by them, I just think of them as her “mom-isms”.
One of those mom-isms that she is constantly exemplifying – doing something for others is doing something for yourself. That’s the thing about my mom though, she will do nearly anything you ask. She will do things even when you don’t ask. She is thoughtful and creative, and when those qualities combine, beautiful acts of kindness generally abound. She is forever the “just because” lady. If you doubt me, check out the decorative paper covered envelope I received today (for no reason whatsoever) with a gorgeous new blouse inside. Take a gander at my favorite pup who had a bow around his neck when I pulled up at my parent's house last week, just because a floppy-eared dog with a big red bow would make me smile. Or ask our own Ms. Ashlee about her wedding photos, both taken and scrapbooked.
The thing is, she doesn’t do it for thanks. It’s just her natural tendency to be kind and she loves doing things for others.
I know mom is right about this one and it’s a dimension of myself I’m constantly working to improve - more random acts of kindness and more selfless service. On that note, I’ve decided to take part in Random Acts of Kindness Week (which just happens to start on Monday!).
You might be thinking, “Meg, what does this have to do with healthy living?” Don’t worry - In true Type A fashion, I’ve got a diagram for you!
My favorite random acts of kindness are those that are anonymous. There is just something so special about (possibly) lighting up someone's day when they aren't expecting it. I still remember one of the first times I did something for someone else anonymously and did it "just because" a la my mom. I also still remember the magnificent feeling that came along with that gesture. Being that it's been about 5 years since that random act of kindness and probably that long since I spoken to those involved, I'll lay it out there. I used to have an acquaintance from church who worked as a companion for an adult man with special needs. My acquaintance would spend each day with him, out and about. I would run into them all over the place: the student church building on campus, local bookstores, sipping hot chocolate at coffee shops. Though the man had never spoken to me, I knew his name because I would always stop to greet my acquaintance and I would also greet him. It quickly became apparent how much this man loved puzzles and coloring books. However, I noticed one day how he was always using the same coloring book and it was getting quite full from frequent use. I decided to buy him some new coloring books and puzzles, and I left them in the church building on campus with a card attached for my acquaintance noting who they were for, but not acknowledging who they were from. The delight I felt when I saw them later that week, new gifts in hand, was immeasurable. It's a feeling I regret not having more often.
So for one week, I'm going to put forth a valiant effort to offer more random acts of kindness each day. I recognize that it may appear kind of sad that I have to make this a goal...but I figure practice makes perfect, right?
"When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people." - Abraham Joshua Heschel