My activity in the care and kindness ministry has pushed me into staying active and even creative in actions and attitudes that fit the loving kindness theme.
I'd like to share a couple of ways I am endeavoring to give a tiny spirit-lifting gift to people I meet and connect with in a typical day.
When shopping in grocery stores or drugstores, or in a professional environment, like a medical center, I try very hard to read the employees' names, especially their first names, on the tags around their necks or pinned on their uniforms. Then I use their names, as much as I can in our time together, and I certainly thank them by name when we are finished. One more piece I usually add is a comment, always positive, about their name. I will say something like, “That is a pleasant name,” or “I've always liked that name.”
Many women, and once in a while a man, wear necklaces or chains around their neck with a Christian cross displayed. Occasionally there is a cross pinned on a jacket or blouse. I am now committed to admiring verbally such crosses. I have become obsessed with such jewelry and always say something like, “I love your cross” when they are wearing a cross around their neck.
Two weeks ago I wrote a letter of appreciation to an old college basketball coach I hadn't seen in nearly 60 years. I always carried pleasant and appreciative memories of him but had never expressed them in any way. So, with a few carefully chosen words, I thanked him by US Mail. To my surprise, he wrote me back telling me how much my letter pleased him. One small act of kindness and two people feel happier — him and me.
Our 40 min. daily morning walks have become friendliness sessions. No one is passed without a wave or a word. This is true if they are watering their lawns with a hose, passing in a pickup truck, or meet us walking. As a result, today we count as beloved friends a handful of people we have connected with through reaching out in a friendly way on our daily walks.
Adding to our satisfaction is the fact that most whom we meet now seem friendlier in general to others, in addition to us, since we have reached out to them with warm greetings. I truly believe our one-mile walking course (which goes up the street we live on and then along the San Gabriel River and through Caruthers Park, a virtual circle) is now a friendlier place.
One of the pleasant surprises in the Care and Kindness adventure is that not only are the spirits lifted in the recipients of kindness but also giving is a happiness generator. The one who helps another is also a happier person.
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