Unexpected Sparks of Kindness

An ordinary day becomes special when it’s filled with thoughtful gestures—received and given.

Posted in , Mar 2, 2018

Acts or kindness

Last week was filled with all the usuals...family time and family routines, work and organizations, preparing meals and exercising. But it was also a week with some unexpected sparks of kindness and goodness.

I received two very gracious and genuine compliments from colleagues. My husband reached out to me during the workday to ask how I was doing (that might sound silly, but we all know how life can get busy at work). One of my daughters who’s away at boarding school texted me when she learned that I had a day off to wish me a relaxing day. A treasured soul found the wallet I’d forgotten in a shopping cart in the store’s parking lot and turned it in to the customer service desk. A friend sent me a note saying he thought about me while watching the Winter Olympics, as he remembered my playing ice hockey in high school and college.

Each of these kind and thoughtful gestures took time out of the day of those who made them. I am thankful for the time they took and the sentiments they shared through their gestures. I am also grateful to them for the doses of the neurochemical dopamine I experienced as a result of their kindness. These doses encouraged me to share the goodness by paying it forward. What a fabulous cycle!

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” “Be kind.” Each of these serves as a guidepost, yet too frequently we do not live with these guideposts at our forefront. Not that we act counter to them, just that we do not proactively make them a priority. 

Witness and celebrate a healthy risk another person takes. Let someone go ahead of you in line. Share directions with someone in need. Ask, earnestly, a store clerk how he or she is doing. Each of these gestures puts those guideposts into practice. Each can bring you a sense of gratification and a dopamine boost as well. Another fabulous cycle. As pastor and theology professor Gerhard E. Frost wrote, “Unwrap the hidden beauties in an ordinary day.”

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