Featured Photo by aislynnmichelle
A couple of years ago, I took my mom on a week trip to all kinds of places she’d been wanting to go. The trip spanned 7 states in just about as many days! As we were making the last 3 hours of the trip between Atlanta and Nashville, we got hungry and pulled off the interstate to grab a bite at a fast food place. We pulled into the drive through line, and waited our turn. And waited. And waited. It was packed, both inside and out. By the time we realized it was going to be a very long time to get our food, it was too late to get out of the line because of the cramped space the little joint occupied. So, we people watched, and chatted, and patiently waited.
The car in front of us finally got to the window. I think she was ordering for an army, because it took her forever to get her order placed. But she did, and moved on up to the window to pay. We placed our order and watched as bag after bag of food was handed out to the car in front of us. We speculated about who all that food might be for, and laughed about the possibilities.
A Beautiful Surprise!
When I pulled up to the window to pay, the girl said, “You don’t owe anything.” I stared at her for a moment, and finally said, “What?” She said, “Yeah, the lady in front of you paid for your order. Here ya go.” And she handed out our food, and shut the window.
Well. What a surprise. Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me to do the same for the person behind me. I wish it had. But, I was so taken aback by the random act of kindness from the stranger in front of me, that I just pulled out. I have, since, thought a lot about that night.
A Beautiful Awakening
It’s been my practice for a long time to do little kindnesses like that. Paying an expired meter here and there, and yes, even paying for the fast food of someone behind me at the drive through. But, no one had ever done me that kindness…until that night.
Granted, it wasn’t a huge thing. But it had a huge impact. It gave me the opportunity to feel a random act of kindness. Let me tell you, it’s vastly different from giving one. In giving one, I generally feel really good. It fills me with a sense of generosity, well-being and abundance – all really good feelings.
Being on the receiving end was so humbling. It washed over me as I got back on the road to continue our trip. I felt so incredibly blessed that a stranger bestowed on me that kindness. Unsolicited and knowing that I had absolutely no way of repayment to her directly.
Being the benefactor also gave me such a sense of the innate goodness of people.
For most of us, I would venture to say, it’s easier to give than it is to receive. And that’s a little sad to me. By refusing to receive, we cheat the other person out of experiencing feelings of generosity. And I think we cheat ourselves out of the feeling of humility; A feeling that is just as important, if not more so.
A Beautiful Challenge
When was the last time you allowed yourself to receive a kindness from someone humbly and without protest? Next time someone offers it, accept it, with gratitude and humility. Let the kindness of another person wash over you and fill you up. It will change you.
I love this post too… in fact it has reminded me, before life became so busy, how I used to write little poems for people and send little gifts… but I have stopped. I cannot remember the last time I did something like that. And my life has been poorer for it… I put it down to having to give so much to the kids, I almost feel like I have nothing left.
The other side of the coin is in today’s society people wonder why you are giving, as if there is something attached, a hidden agenda, like what do I want out of it in return… such a shame really.
Cheers to you for reminding me of what it means to give along with encouraging others to receive with grace and harmony.
Thanks Sandy 🙂
Thanks Kellie! That was one of a couple of random acts of kindness that happened to us on that trip. Both were things that we had no way of repaying to the giver… and that made it so much more profound, and humbling.
Love this post, Cathy! It really reminded me of how simple it is to change someone’s life for the better. Each moment gives an opportunity to care and act on that character. Thanks for sharing this with the community!