"If anyone is in need, just lend a hand and help them out."
An anonymous 6th grader
Because I've had kindness on my mind lately, and we are rapidly approaching the season of joy that is often more stress-filled than joyful, I've decided to wait to write about waiting and go with kindness instead.
After my mother died (in 2002) one of the ways I busied myself to keep from being too sad, was to compile recipes from the ladies at church and put them into a cookbook. It is not much different from other church cookbooks, except that it holds a little bit of my heart and soul. It is a project I am still quite proud of. It has recipes, sure. But it also contains pictures, quotes, stories and prayers. I was an Internet novice at the time, but as always seems to be the case, I found my way to people (or they found me) who uplifted me and encouraged my creativity. Strangers, like Anne Wetzel and Jaletta Desmond who were kind enough to share their talents with me. Ladies who didn't seem to mind lending a helping hand to someone who obviously didn't know what she was doing. Maybe it was a God-thing, something that the Divine One had a hand in. While I don't discount that, I also believe in kindness of others. Thinking of it, maybe kindness is also a God-thing. It is something the Spirit moves us to be.
At the time I was working on the cookbook, I left the recipes to the church ladies who had been preparing pot luck casseroles for years. I, on the other hand trained my eyes and ears to pick up on items that might be appropriate as filler for the book. One day I went to the bathroom in the Mall which is not necessarily a place that one might expect to find inspiration. However, upon locking the door and sitting down I came face to face with a poster decorated with smiley faces and read:
Share a smile, brighten someone's day.
Open a door.
Listen with your heart.
Visit a sick friend.
Say, "Thank you."
Help carry a load.
Plant a tree.
Buy someone a meal.
Let someone go before you.
Read to a child.
Commit random acts of kindness daily.
Say, "I love you."
Do a favor.
Forgive a mistake.
Lend a hand.
Help a neighbor.
Use encouraging words.
I've always got a pen with me, but wouldn't you know it, I was sitting there without any paper to write on except little squares of toilet tissue that aren't much good for their designated purpose, let alone copying a masterpiece. But a girl has to do, what a girl has to do, so I carefully scribbled bathroom wisdom onto bathroom paper.
Over the years, I've not remembered everything on the list, but I try to live by this creed.
Fast forward a few years to an email that I got last month. The creators of the Gift of Kindness website, Daniel Decker and his wife, were requesting input for way to make their message stronger and go farther.