Serving Through Kindness

Lori - Atlanta, Georgia
Entered on November 10, 2009
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Eleven o’clock, Sunday morning I walk out of my neighborhood restaurant clutching my Styrofoam container of leftover pancakes. I don’t know why I take them with me. In a half-hour’s time they’ll be nothing but two round sponges sopping with maple syrup that crumble like mercury into bits that are impossible to scoop with a spoon.

As we walk, my companion and I chat about the things we have to do that day. He needs to prepare for a client meeting. I have another deadline. Then, I see Ron digging through the garbage, mumbling. I tell him that I barely touched my pancakes and put the container on the lip of the garbage can. As we walk away, my friend questions my judgment in speaking with a vagabond. I tell him that I know Ron, and that he is a part of the fabric of my neighborhood. He never asks for anything and rarely takes something even when it’s offered. We turn around and see Ron reaching for the Styrofoam box only after he knows we are gone.

My friend teases that my time spent working for a nonprofit organization has made me soft-hearted. I take his off-centered kidding, but remind him that Ron is a human being too.

His good-natured teasing got me thinking. Is extending small acts of kindness to people more vulnerable considered a weakness? I hope not. Instead, I like to think we are becoming more open to extending such random acts of kindness.

There was a time when I’d never think about speaking with someone like Ron. In fact, I’d cross the street to avoid him. However, I believe that we can no longer turn a blind eye to those who are vulnerable.

There is a lot of talk these days about giving back and serving. Many people don’t know where to begin. I have one suggestion. Begin with kindness and by bringing a little light into someone’s life through a smile, a gesture or nod. Service begins with the decision to help, and trusting your intuition about who needs it.

Whether it’s holding a shopping cart for the frazzled mom while she juggles the groceries and two rambunctious kids, or lending an arm to an elderly person who is looking for a little stability, or by simply offering a smile to someone who is having a bad day. Service begins by raising your awareness and seeing spirit in others. That awareness blossoms into opportunities to extend small gestures of kindness, which serve humanity and become a foundation for greater acts of serving to come forth.

If one good deed deserves another, let’s set forth the chain reaction of positive behavior. Take this time to state your intention of seeing spirit in everyone without judgment. Let your intuition serve as a guide as to who needs your help, make one small gesture of kindness, and see how you begin to feel as your future unfolds.