Being a force for good doesn’t necessarily mean that you are Captain America, clad in tights and saving the world day after day. There are heroes and angels all around us who perform small acts of kindness and compassion each day. They are not always in the news or on YouTube, but they are there just the same. They are our better angels, and their reach goes a long way toward diffusing the harsh and violent times in which we live.
Take for example Carol Flynn, who had just paid for her purchases and was about to leave the Sioux Falls store when she overheard a young woman behind her asking the cashier to match the price on four boxes of diapers. The cashier was reportedly only able to match the price for one box, so the mother could not afford the purchase. Ms. Flynn walked up to her, patted her on the shoulder and paid the $120 for the diapers. As the young woman stammered out her thanks, Ms. Flynn asked her to just pay it forward when she could. This kindly exchange was captured by a bystander and went viral on YouTube.
Who knows what further acts of kindness followed this video? I’m betting that that young woman will pay it forward when she can. I’m also betting that many, many people were inspired to do something for someone else “just because.” These episodes of grace are just that: little shining moments of heart-to-heart connection with another person. Just as violence and hatred can be sparked by one person or one act, so too can kindness light up the nobility of spirit of which we are all capable.
It is as easy as smiling at a total stranger, holding the door open for someone, complimenting a young cashier at the grocery store on her nail polish, and so on. All these little things cause a wave of positive energy that can change lives and indeed the tenor of our planet. Did you ever hear the saying that a butterfly gently wafting its wings can cause a tsunami miles away? It is the same with a simple act of kindness. The intention and the influence spreads and affects us all. How many times have we heard on our local news station about an injured stray cat or dog brought to a shelter by a kind person? Before you know it, hundreds and even thousands of dollars are raised to cover the cost of veterinary care, plus several people offer to adopt the animal.
In this time of our world, there is so much sadness, sorrow, pain, rage, war and viciousness. These things affect us all in some way or another. One person may not be able to turn the tide to all this negativity, but many people doing many small positive things can affect a great change. Just as constantly dripping water will eventually wear away a stone, many acts of goodness can wear away hopelessness, apathy, fear and rage.
There IS hope, there IS positive change, there IS room in our hearts to be better people; not just for ourselves, but for others and our world. I challenge myself along with you to make just one tiny gesture of good faith and hope each day.
We can do this.