I’m a crier of happy moments. If I witness an act of kindness, I sometimes boo-hoo like a baby.
Recently, I’ve seen a few Facebook posts from people who have been the recipients of random acts of kindness.
The posts are generally after a major incident or news event occurs that tends to polarize the country. For example, after the shooting of an unarmed black man, one of my friends posted that a white woman, out of the blue, paid for her gas.
It made my friend feel like her life mattered that day.
Most recently, after the general election, another friend posted that a stranger paid for her dinner.
It made her feel valued that day.
I bought a book recently about kindness being at the center of successful relationships. When couples are kind to each other, they are happier, more respectful, more connected.
Research further shows that kindness is good for your health. It lowers blood pressure, stimulates the production of serotonin, which is a feel-good chemical that helps heals wounds, calms nerves and makes you happy.
One author on the subject, Christine Carter, who wrote, “Raising Happiness – In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents,” even suggests that kindness can expand your life.
“People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease,” she writes. “People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44 percent lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.”
Now I’m not advocating skipping the gym, or church for that matter, but I do believe if we would help others more, we would feel better and help make the world a better place.
When a natural disaster strikes, such as the recent Hurricane Matthew, there is no shortage of human kindness. We rally together, combine resources and help those in need no matter race, color, creed or whether it was a blue state or red state affected.
We put politics aside and see people for who they are, not for who they supported or what they stand for. I am always impressed how we come together during times like those.
But what about the opportunities in between?
We have chances every day to show kindness to someone — and it doesn’t have to involve money. It can be as simple as holding a door for an elderly person behind you, visiting a stranger in a nursing home, or letting someone go in front of you in line — on Black Friday (Lol).
Now more than ever, this country needs more love and kindness, which is contagious by the way.
According to randomactsofkindness.org, the positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnesses the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to pay it forward.
The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 simply showed kindness by loving his neighbor as himself, which is the second greatest commandment.
There is a quote by the Dalai Lama that goes, “Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.”
I SEE YOU
Recently, while attending an event in downtown Charlotte, I noticed the many homeless men and women sleeping on benches.
I glanced at them, but rushed quickly to the show I was attending. A few days later, that glance became a picture worth a thousand words that haunted my memory.
After a few days of meditating on it, God led me to this idea: On Thanksgiving Eve, my best friend, Patricia, and I are planning to pass out KFC chicken pot pies to some of the homeless people on the downtown streets of Charlotte.
What I would have spent on unnecessary items on Black Friday will now go toward a hot meal for a person without a place to call home.
I’m sharing this not to boast or to receive praise, but to inspire intentional acts of kindness. In order for kindness to be contagious, it must be shared and promoted.
In the big scheme of things, it’s one meal on one day to about a dozen homeless people.
Not much — but I hope it will at least make them feel like they are not invisible.
Let’s make America kind again.
Kimberly Harrington is the editor of the Pageland Progressive Journal News.