Kindness and Strangers
If at some point in life, you haven’t relied on the kindness of strangers or haven’t extended kindness to a stranger, then face it—you’re not really living. Instead, you must be moving through your days wrapped so tightly in your own self-absorbed world that you either haven’t noticed the kindnesses or you don’t bother to pay attention to those sharing earth with you.
Decades ago, I endured a tragic experience that left me with the stunning knowledge that no one needs to show kindness to me. And as a result, I make it a point to always be thankful for even small acts of consideration. I understand that someone else’s time or effort on my behalf is a gift.
Last month I was carrying two boxes, one stacked on the other, and was walking into a building. In front of the door were three or four concrete cylinders. You know, those structures to prevent someone from driving through double doors. Anyway, the wind was blowing, and my hair had webbed across my face.
I decided to lean the boxes into the cylinder to free a hand so I could tuck my hair behind my ear.
While walking toward the cylinders, a woman behind me yelled, “Oh, no. To your right. Move right!” As I got closer to my destination her shouts grew louder and more frantic, “Careful, no! Uh, uh—you’re going to crash!”
I connected with the cylinder, pushed my hip into the boxes, and swiped my hair off my face. As I did, footsteps quickened across the pavement, and the woman stopped next to me, asking, “Are you okay?”
When I explained I only wanted to clear my hair from my eyes, we both got a good laugh out of the situation. (I wonder what she thought of me as I made a beeline straight to the barrier.) She shook her head and started off on her own errand, but I caught up to her and thanked her for her kindness and attention.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how we interact with the world around us. I’m trying to be more purposeful in acknowledging the little things and rejoicing in the kindness I receive or extend. Sometimes paying it forward is noticing the small things and being of assistance to one another in even trivial matters.
Joy isn’t necessarily found in the significant events of life, but rather in the little, day-to-day moments. Don't you agree?
This week, give yourself permission to step out of your comfort zone and extend kindness to someone else. Even a smile will brighten someone else's day!