Friday, January 25, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness

I have always loved helping others.  I have always done various forms of volunteer work since I was a kid - my favorite experience being a companion to seniors in a hospital when I was a Brownie.  I also got a credit in high school tutoring children with learning disabilities, an opportunity that taught be a number of valuable lessons.  I'm not a saint.  Really, it's somewhat self-interested actually, as helping others makes me feel good.

Unfortunately, as this blog documents, I lost my way.  I fell away from what is true to my heart and ended up in a career that was utterly meaningless to me.  I remember my anger, frustration and resentment of having to spend my days doing what felt like nothing more than helping other people (or companies and organizations) make more money.  If there was some sort of social value involved in the project, I was basically detached from it.  "Why would I ever care about this?"  I always wondering.  I didn't feel like what I was doing had any meaning nor was making any positive impact on the world in any significant way.  I felt empty, useless and wasted.

It was, of course, my experiences with infertility that gave me the impetus to leave my former career and get on track with what I love: helping people!  I love being a counsellor and I am grateful every day to have the opportunity to now do what I love. 

But I want to make a difference outside of my work, in my community too.  I have become a regular blood donor, because it is such an easy yet important thing to do and I am trying to volunteer more at Big A's school and the girls' daycare when possible.  Now, I've decided to try and join the Random Acts of Kindness movement.  I love the idea of making a real difference to someone's day simply by making a small gesture.  Imagine how different the world would be if each and every one of us decided to do so!

Yesterday, the girls and I passed the construction workers fixing the bridge near our house.  It was ass-kicking cold, and we discussed how awful it would be to have to work outside all day in that weather.  I immediately got thinking.  Is there an opportunity here to do something to make a difference?

Why yes, of course!  I decided to bring them each a cup of Mexican Spiced Hot Cocoa to warm them up on my way to catch the bus to work.

I wasn't sure if they were hot chocolate drinkers, but I figured, at the very least, the thought would mean something to them.  I carried them over in a box on which I scrawled, "Random Act of Kindness...Pass it on!"  As luck would have it, they were just getting back from lunch and were in the midst of parking their truck when I arrived.  I knocked on the window, and one of the men rolled it down.  "Are you the guys fixing the bridge?" I asked.  "Yes" they replied, looking scared.  I think they thought I was about to berate them for making noise.  "Well these are for you, stay warm today!" I said.  You should have seen the surprised smiles on their faces.  It totally made my day.

Unfortunately, I must have spent too much time whipping up the drinks because I missed my bus.  Ah well, it was so worth it, and after sprinting a few blocks in the opposite direction, I found another route to work.

It felt so good, I am going to try and do one Random Act of Kindness every week from now on.  I'm also trying to get the girls in on it and I told them they can come up with ideas too. Hopefully, declaring this publicly will keep me accountable!!

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