Viewpoints is a SpokaneFāVS feature where our writers respond to a weekly question. Readers are invited to participate by posting in the comment section below.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and instead of asking FāVS writers what they are grateful for we thought we’d be more specific. So this year we asked, “What act of kindness are you most thankful for?”
Hyphen Parent: Restoring my faith in humanity
When I tried to sort through my memories of acts of kindness that truly touched me, I realized I can’t pull out one specific thing. It’s the collection of various acts of kindness that have served to restore my faith in humanity and so have made all the difference in my life. Some things were very small to the giver. These were small acts that took very little time, effort, or money on the part of the other person. Many times, I find when I mention such things later, the other person thought nothing of them. For me, though, they made a huge impression. Some are huge things that take quite a bit of planning and sometimes come at a large expense.
The kindnesses shown to me range from things like a nice note from my children, to loved privately messaging me to check in, to a small gift from a loved one with the exclamation, “This made me think of you,” to a friend bringing me a cup of coffee, to another friend offering to bring her lawn mower and mow my lawn when mine broke down, to a group of friends I never met in person pooling money to buy me a breast pump when our daughters were in the NICU, to a friend who gave me hundreds of dollars to buy donations for the homeless and spend the evening helping me shop, to a librarian friend who knew our children as toddlers and flew 1,000 miles to be at our girls’ b’not mitzvah.
There are hundreds if not thousands of other acts of kindness that have been done for me. All of those together show me that there is kindness in the world. When all of those people show their graciousness, whether those acts are tiny and take very little effort or huge and take a great deal of time and money, I’m reminded that there is goodness in the world and that has made the greatest difference in my life.
Nicholas Damascus: Practice Random Acts of Kindness
Witnessing “acts of kindness” have done more to influence and refocus the direction of my life. To discover that “giving” of time, talents, and resources turned my mundane life and insignificant experiences into a lifetime of meaning and a reality of fulfillment.
To further accentuate this experience; It was said from the writings of the fathers “To give “these alms” with unselfish expectations is a work far greater than miracles. . . . To feed the hungry in the name of Christ is a work greater than raising the dead in Christ’s name.…When thou work miracles, you are God’s debtor; when you give “these alms,” God, in a likened way, is your debtor.”
Practice Random Acts of Kindness — Carry out random acts of kindness with no expectation of reward. Try to do little things for others daily and try not to get caught doing them. Shovel the snow your neighbor’s sidewalk while they are away. Pay the toll for the car behind you. Anonymously leave cookies on your co-workers’ desks. The possibilities are limitless.
If you come upon someone today without a smile, resolve to give him one of yours. Give those possessions which you do not need, what is just lying around unused, to those in need and realize how much joy this would bring to others. Then you will begin to give what you can, according to your means, and finally, you may be ready to give away most of what you have, and by doing so possess everything.
Let not “today” pass without appreciation, participation, and expression in some form of an act of random kindness.
Dorothy-Ann Parent (better known as Hyphen) is a writer, a traditional Jew, a seeker of justice, a lover of stories, the self-proclaimed Jewish Molly Weasley, hobbit-sized, and best not left unattended in a bookshop or animal shelter.