being kind, it’s actually harder than it looks

It December, I committed myself to 26 Acts of Kindness as a tribute to the victims of Sandy Hook. I wrote about it here and was certain I would be able to blast through in no time. I envisioned it as my holiday activity and thought if I was intentional about kindness I could check it off by early January.

It is January 30 and I am on number 8. Ok, so that wasn’t exactly how I imagined it would go. I framed the acts as something I wouldn’t ordinarily do…so opening a door, bringing Steve a coffee warm up (which quite honestly, I only do so he will respond likewise), writing a note or smiling at a stranger doesn’t count. Around Christmas we were on the road and I had many opportunities, so I made a list and started checking off every paid bridge toll fee and Salvation Army contribution. I bought several Starbucks cards along the way and returned them to the barista, asking her to give them to a weary traveler later in the day. I was making fine progress.

Then, on December 23, while we were on the freeway, we witnessed a terrible traffic accident. We stopped, and I spent quite a bit of time helping one of the women, especially during the moments when she thought she killed the others in the overturned van (she didn’t). I prayed with her, right there on the freeway. I brought her water. I called her daughter, twice. I hugged her. I wanted to bring her food, but when Kate offered up the delicious cranberry bread (which we had just broken into), I suggested perhaps not and gave her an apple instead. When we were finished, I got into the car and announced that I had earned at least 3 kindness points. Kate and Alex refused to give them to me! They said I would have done it anyway, and clearly I didn’t go out there because of my list. I suspect it was the non-giving of the cranberry bread that put me out of favor there. And that apple is probably still on the side of the road.

Anyway, on the trip back I bought another Starbucks card, but skipped paying the secret bridge toll. I wondered how I would be able to manage 18 more acts of kindness because you know, it’s January. Yesterday I was leaving Target and there was a woman holding a sign, asking for money for her family. I recognized, just for a moment, that between my errands and my home, she was an opportunity for me to be kind. I slowed down, opened my wallet and pulled out my cash. I smiled and asked her how she was doing and gave her what I had. And if I had the cranberry bread, I would have given it to her, too.

I stopped making the list, but I am still thinking about it, and still doing what I can. It’s a matter of looking for opportunities. They are around us, even in January. And even in February. I’ll keep you posted.

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3 Responses to being kind, it’s actually harder than it looks

  1. andrea says:

    What you did was beyond kind. I am sure you do acts of kindness all the time without realizing that you are doing them!

  2. pam says:

    I read the book, “The 29 Gifts” – where a woman had to give a gift (kindness) every day for 29 consecutive days, it was hard!

  3. njweseman says:

    Oh Kim, you were such a blessing for that lady during that accident. Makes me so glad that you were there for her. This post really touched me. I agree with Andrea above, and I am sure you do acts of kindness everyday. That is just who you are!

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