A little over a year ago, I had just launched my first book while raising an 8-month-old baby, a 2-year-old with a broken leg, and a kindergartner. The pressure, mama-related sleep deprivation, and the holiday demands made me feel like I was going to crack! Of course, to the world I was able to present a big smile, but one of my dear friends could see right through it. She ended up at my back door one afternoon unannounced with a beautiful basket full of wine, chocolate, cheese, and fresh bread. She sensed that I needed a night to relax (which I did, desperately)! Her act of kindness brought such love and hope to me.
Kindness etches an unforgettable memory and feeling in your heart.
I can think of dozens of times when I felt crushingly overwhelmed inside and a beautiful card arrived randomly from a dear friend, or I discovered a new voicemail and it was a message of love from a family member. Recently on a difficult day, a completely unexpected package arrived from a best friend who lives in Italy. The package had a stunning Italian scarf and a few funny aprons from Portugal. Her kindness completely turned my day around.
"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." -- Mother Teresa
These occasions always remind me how important it is to tune into those you love and extend a loving word or kind gesture when you sense they might need it. It is equally important to spread kindness to complete strangers. It always warms my heart when people offer to help me carry things through the airport as I am clearly struggling with my three kids by myself. Even a smile and commenting on someone's beautiful sweater can brighten their day.
To take it to the next level, offer your kindness to those who really and truly need it... the poor, unloved, and destitute.
Try spending some time volunteering at your local homeless or women's shelter to offer your love to people who feel dejected and deeply lonely. The mere act of looking people directly in the eyes and a warm hand on the shoulder can let them know that they are important.
Think of all the desperately lonely elderly people who get stuck indoors when the weather is cold and icy. My family used to deliver meals to "shut-ins" on Christmas Day. We would arrive to find an older person trying to make a celebration by herself and they would explain with some embarrassment that her children had all grown up and moved away. You could sense their extreme isolation in how much they wanted for you to stay awhile. I would always hug these people tightly, and could feel their bodies melt. Oftentimes, the hug would result in grateful tears, and I would hurry out to my car so I could cry openly. People in this world are painfully lonely. Please show them love and kindness!
How do you spread kindness? We often get wrapped up in the schedule and list, but this year, try to open your heart and mind to what really matters. Love to each of you!