Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I made a commitment to continue praying for others. Not just my family and friends, but also for complete strangers: the beggar on the street corner, the frustrated teacher at school, the isolated child in the lunchroom, the lady who looks so sad all the time in the grocery store. Maybe one day I'll find that my tiny prayers made a difference to someone. Maybe people will pray for me, God knows I could use them. So the next time someone tells you about their gallbladder surgery and asks you to pray for them--do it! Stop everything at that instant and take a moment to pray. You have nothing to lose and they have everything to gain!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Tonight, I made up my mind that there was no way out of it so I may as well try to make it as pleasant as possible. I pasted a smile on my face and walked through the door with a positive attitude. I have shopped at the same grocery store for five years and have never paid attention to the staff. I walked right up to the bakery counter and politely asked the baker to slice a loaf of bread for me. He was pleasant and friendly and I noticed his name tag (Gerald) and I began to strike up a conversation with him. The more I asked, the more animated he became. He seemed genuinely pleased that a customer had taken the time to notice him and ask about his family and his life and to compliment him on his job
Next I moved on to the Deli counter where I also had a nice chat with Maylene. She was lovely to chat with and her whole demeanor changed also once I began to notice her and make pleasant conversation. I moved through the store and spoke to everyone and gave a big smile and "hello" to every shopper I passed. People must have thought I was high! I got tickled at myself when I realized that I was reminding myself of my grandparents and how they had to stop and talk to EVERYONE whenever I took them out. But you know what, the members of their community loved my grandparents and my grandparents loved them! Now I know why! I got through the checkout process talking and laughing with Nancy the whole time and a wonderfully friendly Kenny carried my groceries to the car. I got in my car and thought to myself, "that wasn't bad at all. I actually didn't mind the shopping tonight!" More importantly, I connected to others and showed them I appreciate what they do. It was a good feeling!
"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."
~ Mother Teresa
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Well, with my new found attitude and commitment to being kind, I went into the store today determined to be genuinely nice and to 'kill her with kindness.' After all, you never can be sure why a person acts the way they do. Maybe this woman has no joy in her life or has had some unbearable sadness. Maybe she is so used to being grumpy that she has forgotten how to smile. I was on a mission to find out. She was at the cash register snapping out orders to her staff and even with a long line, she had only one clerk working the sales desk. As I walked up, I looked directly at her and asked how she was today. She turned away and spoke to her employee and completely ignored me. Not to be defeated, I tried again to make conversation but this time, she told her clerk to take over and walked away and her salesperson gave me an apologetic look. And that was the end of it. I wasn't successful with my ARK today (or was I?) but I won't give up. Instead of being angry with this lady now, I actually feel sorry for her. Maybe she needs some love and kindness in her life to break down the wall she has put up. I'll keep trying whenever I go back and I'll keep you posted! But even if it didn't seem like I made an impact on her--I sure felt better about myself today!
Monday, April 12, 2010
So what does my ARK have to do with facebook? I decided to use this vehicle today to reach out to a person who I was acquaintances with in high school and now am friends with on facebook. You see, I have dozens and dozens of high school people on my friend's list, but I actually didn't know them well in high school and after thirty years, can't even imagine what we would have in common now. I thought that was a sad fact. I shouldn't have been so self-absorbed and shallow in high school--I should have taken the time to really get to know people and I should have stayed in touch with those I cared for. Today, I decided to pick an obscure friend and post a comment to them remembering something significant and nice about them from school. I thought it would be difficult, but when I got out my high school yearbook and looked at the pictures and things people had written to me, a lot of very happy memories came flooding in. It was a nice trip down memory lane, and the person I wrote to on facebook seemed genuinely pleased that I had remembered these nice things about her. I hope I made her feel good--I know it made me feel good and wish I had paid more attention to her thirty years ago!
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
"If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it."
~ Mother Teresa
Friday, April 9, 2010
"Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush,anxious for greater developments and greater riches and so on, so that children have very little time for their parents. Parents have very little time for each other, and in the home begins the disruption of peace of the world."
~ Mother Teresa
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
And as for the guy with "Road Rage" (and you know who you are, Mr. Silver Subaru on Rt. 417), I hope your day gets better and I will pray for you!
"If you judge people, you have no time to love them" ~ Mother Teresa
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Today, I realized that I was missing the point. Sure, I was learning to paint but I definitely wasn't learning much about relating to others. What a snob I must have seemed to the people around me. On this day, I forced myself to look up from my work and take stock of those around me. I have never bothered to get up and compliment anyone else's work. In fact, I've never done more than just smile politely and look away. Disgraceful. I got up and walked around the room today and admired the beautiful artwork around me, but I especially noticed the lovely people for the first time. I stopped to chat with an elderly woman who comes in every week carrying an oxygen tank with her. She was painting a portrait of her granddaughter and I mentioned what a beautiful girl she was. The woman's face lit up and I could see the pride and love she had for her granddaughter and she began to tell me all about her. I became genuinely interested in everything she had to say as she described her family and how excited she was to be able to travel to her granddaughter's high school graduation and she hoped to finish the portrait in time to present it to her as a gift. I was reminded of my own grandmother who passed away just a few months ago and how she just loved to visit and to talk. We chatted for at least 15 minutes and unconsciously, I had performed my ARK (act of random kindness). In those brief minutes, I had stopped to truly listen to this woman and I could tell she was overjoyed to share. More importantly, I made a new friend today and learned a valuable lesson. What good are my art lessons if I can't take a moment to enjoy my surroundings and the people I come into contact with. Art is all around me, not just on the canvas, but on the faces of those whose paths I cross every day! At once, I was embraced with the friendship of everyone in that room and not only did they see me through different eyes--I saw all of them for the first time.
"I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor? " ~ Mother Teresa
Monday, April 5, 2010
I made up my mind this morning that my friend was too important to me and it didn't matter how much time had passed . . . I wanted to see her and do something nice for her. After all, what if I were alone and dealing with such a scary issue? Wouldn't I want others to reach out to me? Would I be mad or bothered if long periods of time went by without hearing from my friends? Of course not. I would be so grateful to hear from them and would probably long for their companionship.
So today, my act of random kindness was reaching out to a friend in need. It was so good to hear her voice and I could tell she was happy to hear from me. We caught up with each other on the phone and made a firm date to get together next week. Guess what? I think the call was more therapeutic for me than it was for her. A friend once told me that a truly kind person is one who not only thinks of something nice to do, but also takes the steps to act upon it.
Take a moment today and reach out to someone you haven't seen or talked to in a while. If God places them in your thoughts and in your heart like He did for me, maybe it is His way of telling you that you are needed to do His work.
And as for my friends' prognosis . . . she is finished chemotherapy and begins radiation soon. So far, all scans are clean and her doctors are hopeful that she will have a full recovery! God is good!
Sunday, April 4, 2010
And just like the candle in mass last night, I want to spread Christ's light to others as He calls us to do. So starting tomorrow, I pledge to make one random gesture of kindness to another every day for the next year. If you read this blog, try it yourself and share your random acts and the responses you get and maybe together we can start a ground-swelling of selflessness.
"In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love" ~ Mother Teresa