It just seemed right that one of my action items for this month should be “perform random acts of kindness.” But instead of just doing random acts of kindness (RAK), I wanted to also explore what that over-used phrase means, and whether or not this is really a valid way of going about being kind to others.
The phrase is most often attributed to Anne Hebert, who says she wrote ”Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a placemat in 1982 (though the ancient Jewish word mitzvah can also be used to mean acts of kindness). The former part of that sentence has seem to have stuck in our collective consciousness, and now it’s a thing.
Some cynical part of me wanted to sort of “disprove” the idea of RAK. To show that to be truly kind you have to be intentional and meaningful and that kindness isn’t just little happy moments that make someone’s day better.
I was wrong.
I think there may, instead, be two different kinds of kindness. There’s the kindness that is BIG and intentional and sacrificial and compassionate and forgiving. It’s God’s kindness to us, and its beautiful in an epic sort of way. Forgiving someone for something that seems unforgivable. It’s offering mercy to someone when they deserve your punishment. It’s adopting people into your family, being compassionate to those who are hurting, and going without something so someone else doesn’t have to be in want.
But then there are small kindnesses. And there’s something about small kindnesses that cut deep. Something about helping someone that doesn’t know you, and doing something that doesn’t really benefit you, that can bring you to tears.
Try this one:
Right? There’s just something about watching someone do something nice for someone else that is almost divine in its own way. It’s humanity.
I haven’t found many opportunities to practice RAK, and that’s mostly because I’ve been quite self-centered with all my travels and catching up from all my travels, and planning for future travels. I’ll look for more opportunities now that the month has slowed back down into its regular pace. My to-do list has been overwhelming and I feel like I need to go back to [CULTIVATE] PEACE for a little while!