Dec 6, 2011

Christmas Kindness: Days 5 & 6

Day 5: I ran to the grocery store (I swear I don't go there every day!) to pick up a couple things and again, I knew it would be the only time I left the house.  I had no plan whatsoever for my Christmas Kindness of the day and saw a Salvation Army bell ringer standing outside.  Putting money in the bucket didn't really count so I decided to get her a snack.  Naturally, I thought of this standing in the check out line so she got a Pepsi and pack of M&Ms.  I would have been a bit more creative and healthy, but again - thought of it standing in line with a child who was about to be done with the grocery store.  I was giddy thinking about how fun it would be to surprise her!  I put money in the bucket and handed her the small bag and said 'Hi, we got you a snack!'  She was on her cell phone and she took the bag and mumbled 'Thanks.'  Not 'Thanks!' just 'thanks,' very flatly.  I started to walk away and then turned and said 'We weren't sure if you got a break so we just wanted to get you a snack!'  (I'm super cheery about this...) - Another learning curve?  I think so.  Part of me really wanted a warm reception.  Part of me wanted her to say, 'Aw, that was so kind, thank you!'  To be honest, more than part of me wanted that.  All of me wanted that.  What was her deal?  It was almost like that was just as expected as putting money in the bucket, like ten other people had given her snacks.  Maybe I should have picked up chicken and macaroni from the deli?  I walked back to the car unsure of what to think.  That is definitely not the way I'd imagined this activity to go... I doubt most people read the comments, but check out the story my friend Kate shared on Christmas Kindness: Day 4.  THAT is the way I imagined this to go down.  And actually, I'd thought that I would get the bell ringer a coffee or hot chocolate since there's a Starbucks in the grocery store, but it was 75 degrees so that's when I went for a Pepsi.

Lesson - this project is not about me.  It's not about my feelings, my expectations, or my joy.  It's easy to do random acts of kindness when you get to see someone really appreciate your gesture.  But what about when they don't?  How do you feel?  The joy just isn't the same.  I don't know her story.  I do know she has one - we all do, and she impacted mine yesterday.  (Well, we'll see if she impacted mine, I actually just felt like that was a nice, poetic feel to the end of day 5, ha!)

Day 6: Nothing exciting today... simple.  I had a meeting this afternoon at work and when I walked down the hallway I noticed an older gentleman sitting in the waiting room.  He looked a little tired and sighed heavily and smiled when I walked by.  We exchanged greetings and I got back to my desk and took him a water bottle I had in my bag.  I don't know how long he'd been waiting, but he said something kind and thanked me.  It was nice.  He was a gentle soul.  (That was for poetic purposes too - just to keep you feeling warm and fuzzy - you know, for the spirit of the project and all.)  I kind of felt like I was slack today but I know that technically this counted.  I have often given out my water bottles.  When I was pregnant I only used Klean Kanteen and refused plastic bottles, but I barely have time to do much in the mornings like fill a bottle (Judge away, mornings are rough.  Filling a bottle takes like a whole 45 seconds that I would prefer to spend grabbing cookies or carrots or something.  Mom, carrots were for you.  Usually it's cookies.  I mean, carrots.)  Anyway, I usually grab three or four bottles (I'm nursing, you know...) and don't always need them all so in the summer I'd often give them to patients who were waiting for the bus as I walked to my car.  I make it sound like I only do it in the summer... it was just so hot!  Seems most people wait inside now that it's cooler and so I don't always see folks out there.

So... that's day five and six.  What did you do this week???

1 comment:

Brittany said...

I love this project. It has really made me look at all the little things others are doing for me and a reminder to make sure to be thankful. This is especially true at work... it's always nice to be thanked for the little things. And this morning my neighbor shoveled my sidewalk. Now to keep paying it forward!

"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I'm afraid God would ask me the same question."
You don't change the world by trying to change the world; you change the world by changing yourself.
-Gerry Straub