December 14th, 2012. A date that will never be forgotten; likely a date that will be read about in history books by future generations. The day that 28 lives were lost; 20 innocent children, six inspiring leaders, a mother and a troubled young man. As a nation we mourn together. We continue to ask “Why?” and “How?”. We debate the issues of gun control and mental health care in the land of the free and the home of the brave. And as we ache for resolutions and search for answers, some of which we may never find, an abundance of loving-kindness has been born from tragedy.
Not too long before the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT, Hurricane Sandy swept through some of the most densely populated areas of the Northeast on October 29th taking lives, destroying homes, demolishing historic landmarks and washing away physical memories. Many STILL remain without power, heat, homes. Again questions of why and how such devastation could have occurred, such damage be caused, and could we have been better prepared and protected from the storm that rocked our shores. From the rubble of all the destruction, charity and hope built up just as quickly as Sandy had blown through the region.
People are good. Through the darkness of both of these horrific tragedies, a beacon of hope shines and gets brighter each day because of the goodness that does exist in the world. People want to give. People want to help other people heal. After the Sandy Hook shooting, journalist Ann Curry recognized this and heard so many asking “what can I do to help?”. She took to social media asking people to imagine what would happen if we all practiced acts of kindness in honor of each of the lives lost at the Connecticut elementary school. And the “26 Acts of Kindness” movement was born.
“Imagine if everyone could commit to doing one act of kindness for each precious life lost. An act of kindness big or small. Are you in?” – Ann Curry
26 Acts. How simple is that? If we all just did 26 things to be kind to one another imagine what a difference it would make! Some have chosen to do 20, some 28; it doesn’t matter how many, it’s up to you. When I heard about the movement I was reminded of a piece of advice my mother used to give: “If someone asks you to borrow a quarter and you have a quarter to give, you should give it to them, and ask them not to pay you back but to give it to the next person who needs it.”
I’m in! And this is how I’ve started my acts of kindness:
I wrote a note to go along with a Giving Key engraved with the word “Love” and placed it inside a plastic baggy to protect it. I left it by the cream and sugar station at my local coffeehouse.
I had a garbage bag full of deposit recyclables in my trunk that I had been planning to turn in for some extra change. While running an errand at the shopping center I saw a mother and son loading bottles and cans into a cart to take into the recycle center so I asked them if they’d like to have mine and wished them a Merry Christmas.
#3 TAKE A CHANCE
I stopped in to the liquor store and bought $5 of scratch off tickets and asked the woman behind the counter to separate them and give them away.
The feeling I get when I have completed an act is … simply put, amazing. My heart feels full and I am so inspired. I hope that in some small way my acts make a difference in the lives of others and that they are inspired to do the same. Because giving to others is the best gift that you can give to yourself.
I’m in. Are you?