8 In Thoughts & Observations

What Ripples Did You Cause Today?

Paying it forward.

Giving back.

Doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.

They’re all words that frame a simple concept with HUGE impact.

I’m pretty certain you’ve been on both the giving and the receiving end of some random kindness.  Reveled in the power of goodness.  I know I have.

Just last week was was trudging–and I do mean trudging–through the lobby of my workplace, headed for my car.  My head was down, my steps were slow, and frankly, I’d have cried on the spot if I hadn’t been too tired to summon up tears.  I didn’t notice the lady standing just outside the flower shop to one side until she chirped, “Would you like some flowers?”

I was so deep in my crap it took a minute for my brain to process she was talking to me.  “I’m sorry?” I asked, still trying to replay the question she’d asked in my head.

“Would you like some flowers?”  The woman’s smile indicated just how much she loved her job and that the end of the day for her was WAY different than the end of the day for me.  “They’re too mature for me to sell and you looked like you could use a pick-me-up.”

Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle, I thought.  I started to say, “Oh, that’s ok. Thanks anyway,” but my brain scratched that sentence off the board and replied with, “I’d love that. Thanks!” instead.

They were beautiful.  A dozen pale lilac blooms that bordered on pink with one flaming hot pink one in the center.  I sat in my car and smelled them the whole way home.

Such a small act.  They’d have gone in the trash if they hand’t gone home with me.  And damned if they didn’t make it a good five days at home before they finally gave up the ghost.  (Well, almost all of them made it five days.  I shared them with my girls who promptly decided de-petalling them was a lot more fun than watching them wilt in a vase.)

Interestingly, I’m setting in a hotel room in Houston, facing another rough week and the woman’s kind gift is on my mind.  It’s making me re-evaluate what I take into the week to come.  Maybe if I focus on giving I can keep myself more balanced and cause a ripple in someone else’s life at the same time.  At least that’s how I’m starting the week–we’ll see how things turn out come Friday when I land back in Tulsa.

What about you?  Have any recent acts of kindness you’ve experienced?  Were you the giver? The receiver?  What happened?  Maybe if you share your stories, you’ll inspire someone else and we can cause a bigger ripple all around.

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  • Reply
    October 21, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Beautiful post. I hope my life is just one little random act of kindness right after the other, because I have been on the receiving end for sure!

    On Oct 12 we celebrated my son’s birthday, and a friend of my mine gave me a card to open up later addressed to me. Inside was a lovely note and $100. Humbled.

    • Reply
      October 21, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      Love it! Stuff like that always amazes me. People truly do have an amazing capacity for generosity.

  • Reply
    Jackie King
    October 22, 2013 at 11:18 am

    What a wonderful story! You have cheered me and given me something to ponder on all week. Let’s hope we all take this to heart and act upon it.

    I also loved Jeanette’s comment. What a wonderful story.

  • Reply
    CJ Burright
    October 22, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    What a sweet angel…er…flower lady. It’s so amazing how one small act can impact someone’s life. I’m definitely a pay-it-forward kind of person and believe “what goes around comes around.” I once gave a coughing woman in the reception area of our office a cough drop – not much of a sacrifice, but she acted as if I’d given her a winning lottery ticket. There are tons of people out there who don’t get much kindness in their lives. I know I’m blessed, so I want to be a blessing to others when given the opportunity. Glad someone was there to give you a boost when you needed it!

  • Reply
    T.D. Hart
    October 22, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Very cool!

    Recently a friend explained that in Eastern thought, the word Namaste means “I see God in you.” Now, when I see someone walking along and feeling invisible–(and you can always tell, can’t you?)–I try hard to look them in the eye, smile, and say “Hello,” as if I’m greeting someone special.

    The first time I did this with a homeless person in San Diego, I received the most incredible look of gratitude and relief. I felt so good I spent the rest of the day looking people in the eye and smiling–and receiving warm smiles in return.

    That homeless guy gave me way more than I gave him.

    • Reply
      October 23, 2013 at 5:19 am

      Lovely story! And I do believe the giver is the one who receives the most. It’s like the giving rubs a bit of the soot life tends to leave behind off our souls.

  • Reply
    October 23, 2013 at 6:15 am

    I LOVE blogs like this! If I can figure out how to do it, I’m going to reblog it this morning!
    Do unto others . . . an amazing concept, isn’t it? It makes a pow! in the world that comes right back and hits the doer with an even bigger POW!
    Oh, and the word TD mentioned? Namaste? (means “I see God in you.”) I’ve read that in the Bible.
    “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” Colossians 1:27b
    Don’t you love it?

  • Reply
    Gretchen Wing
    October 23, 2013 at 9:47 am

    These are my favorite kind of stories–the redemptive kind. These days my acts of kindness feel more planned than random, like the dinner I’m bringing to an elderly friend tonight…but the random ones, either given or received, always seem to carry more power.

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