Simple Kindness

If you’ve read any of my posts before, first of all, I thank you.  Secondly, I would image you have noticed I work with words and phrases that have resonated with me.

Confession: I tried to find a word to use other than resonate.  It seems like it is overused, but as I write true to the name of my blog, ON PURPOSE, it was the best fit. Choosing words ON PURPOSE is still a goal in my writing.

Certain words, and or phrases, seem to accompany moments in time, at least for me. It is difficult to say if the words come first or if the moments come first.  I think it happens both ways.  I will be struck by something I see and I have to give it words.  There is a connection that is lasting to me when this is done.  The ‘something’ now has a story.  The moment is given a place in my story through the words.

Sometimes, the words come first as I am intent on discovering the intent of their use. I want to understand their meaning and the power they possess.

There are words that have been my focus for periods lasting into multiple years. Perspective is a word that was my aim for two years straight. From seeking to understand perspective, my own and that of others, my journey with words was challenged.  Perhaps the challenge was, and still is, that perspective itself can be so challenging.  I cannot say that perspective, as a word, resonated with me. It was a battle that I knew I needed to fight, a battle to gain perspective.  I return to that battle ground on occasion, thankful I was focused in my endeavor to learn and grow.

Through a heightened lens, filtered with perspective, I have gathered other words and phrases that have been incorporated into my story.  Many of those words and phrases have been the center of my posts.  They have been used ON PURPOSE and have helped to define my purpose.

In recent days, SIMPLE KINDNESS has been where my thoughts have converged.  The words keep coming back to me.  They echo in my mind and in my heart. I find myself looking for and noticing moments of simple kindness. Sadly, I also notice glaring moments that lack simple kindness.

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As I have tried to be purposeful in this focus, I am struck by how often others are surprised by kindness.  It’s as if kindness is out of vogue and when it does appear, there is disbelief on the part of the recipient. This not only saddens me, but it increases my resolve to sow kindness.

Kindness can be expressed so simply.

A few weeks back I was checking out of a store and the clerk helping me was frustrated by a computer that had frozen.  I reassured her I was fine in waiting, but it was evident she was anxious and the seconds seemed to be mounting more quickly for her than they were for me.  I turned to look to see if a line was forming behind me. It was not.  I expressed once again that it was all okay.  She looked up at me and asked, “you aren’t going to complain about the wait?” I smiled and reassured her, everything was fine.  I don’t know her story. Perhaps there were multiple factors entering into her anxiety, but I sensed surprise on her part, that I was willing to wait and to even be pleasant in doing so. Waiting patiently does not make me great.  But I hope the simple kindness of doing so, made that young ladies day better.  She seemed relieved and grateful for the response she received.

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Kindness can be expressed so simply.

I find myself playing a little game when I’m at the grocery store.  It seems to be an arena that can bring stress to people.  I like my local store.  I have shopped there for years and know certain people by name.  I look for the butcher that has helped me choose meat on numerous occasions.  I spent fifteen minutes last week talking with Dave in produce about his upcoming trip to visit his daughter.  I’m happy when Allen and or Alan are sacking groceries.  They are sweet gentlemen that are simply kind.

But, back to the game — maybe it’s more of a mission than a game.

I have made it my aim to sow kindness by offering smiles to everyone I encounter in the aisles.  In truth, I begin the game the moment I get into the parking lot! This can be quite challenging as many people are not willing to make eye contact.  That’s okay.  I’m not going to stare them down or stalk them all through the dairy section. However, the offering of a smile does wonders for me and I get the feeling it has been beneficial to some of the recipients.  I get that feeling when I see their expressions change.  I get that feeling when someone thanks me (yep, a “thank you” for smiling at someone, go figure.) I get that feeling when I meet up again with someone later in another aisle and they are quick to offer a smile to me.

simple kindness

I realize I am in danger of setting myself up. There are times I don’t feel like smiling, but that’s usually when I should smile all the more.  I know by sharing this game, the game where I try to get people to smile in return, I will probably run into someone I know at the store and I’ll be focused on my list and not smiling.  Well, hopefully they will join the game and invoke a smile and I’ll be the recipient. đŸ™‚

Kindness can be expressed so simply by offering a smile, offering a gentle response (or perhaps offering no response), by waiting with a patient demeanor, allowing someone else to go before you, expressing a word of thanks. In truth, none of these should be difficult.

Two days ago I needed a quick fix of iced tea and in addition, ordered a taco. As I picked up my bag at the drive through and turned to exit the lot, I noticed the bag was heavier than one taco should be.  I parked and looked to find multiple items I had not ordered. Phooey.  I certainly didn’t need the extra food and figured I had someone else’s order. I kind of wanted to act on my frustration and be quite forthright in my comments. SIMPLE KINDNESS came to mind. Get over yourself also came to mind. I took the bag in and explained that I thought there was a mix up.  The response I received was nothing like the clerk with the frozen computer.  She seemed to appreciate the simple kindness. The person behind the counter at the taco joint was not so pleased. In my opinion, she was in fact, a bit put out. Undeterred, I kindly thanked her and left smiling. My simple kindness is not dependent on the response.

As I walked through the door to my car parked close to the entrance, I caught a whiff of the most fragrant lilacs.  I couldn’t see any lilac bushes, but I inhaled the scent.  In that moment, I received a simple kindness. 

I share to make these moments a part of my story in a more permanent way.  I share to give validity to the words that are echoing in my life.  I share because  I want these words to be evident in my life.  I share, hoping that others will live ON PURPOSE, sowing SIMPLE KINDNESS.

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