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Posts Tagged ‘#26acts

I was so glad a car pulled up in line behind me this morning as I hit my usual Starbucks on the way to work.  There weren’t many cars on the road, being New Years’ Eve day, but I had to work so I decided to treat myself, and the guy in the car behind me as well.

The barrista in the window let out a cute little, “Awww, that’s so sweet” when I told her my intention and handed her the messy note I wrote in line.  It’s getting easier for me, and I think I like it.  I hope it never ends!

Closing the door on 2012 seems like a good idea right now, as I’m watching the ball drop in Times Square on my TV.  I pray that I continue to find time and intention to do my part to make 2013 a more peaceful, gracious, and kind new year.

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This whole acts of kindness thing is starting to make me see just how crazy my own life really is.  It should not be a big deal or a pain in the neck to go slightly out of my way to do something kind for a stranger.  Yet somehow, it always seems to put someone in my own circle out of their way, too.    I’m realizing just how impatient they are, and how impatient I am as well.  It is an important reflection as I look forward to the new year and how I’d like to improve myself.

I digress.

Today we took the family bowling.  It’s not a place I normally go, so I figured it’d be a great time to pass along some kindness to strangers I knew I’d never see again.  Unprepared, I scrawled a note on a piece of envelope I had in my purse.  As I did, I was interrupted about 6 times by kids needing this or that, or it was my turn, or “Mom, he’s using my ball again!” Annoyed, I suddenly thought about how so many parents in Newtown would give everything they had to get their little ones back again, even to fight with their siblings to the point of driving their parents to the liquor cabinet for a strong one.

I excused myself from our game for a minute and gave the note to the clerk, along with some cash to cover an unsuspecting strangers’ game of bowling.  I asked him to give the note to whomever he picked.  He looked at me funny but said he’d do it.

Later as we were leaving he pulled me aside and told me he read the note (apologizing that he really had to), and how nice he thought it was that I was doing it.  I thanked him and told him it was the least I could do.  I sure hope he goes home and tells someone about the #26Acts movement… and so on, and so on, and so on…

 

 

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“These are dark times, but we must remember that we are the lights of the world.”  This message spoke powerfully to me in church today.

Bad news.  Deep, dark and truly unconscionable things happen every day.  I believe with all my heart that the best way to fight evil is by doing good.  Dark news, offset by each one of us doing small acts that bring a little light.

As I headed off to church this morning I put a larger than usual bill into an envelope and marked it in honor of little Grace.  I believe I was almost immediately rewarded by receiving this fantastic message at a time when my heart and mind was so open to hear it.

These 26 acts, these are little lights.  Like a single candle in a dark room, the more of them that come to be lit, the more the darkness cowers and the more the light prevails.

Darkness simply can not win in the face of so much light.  Thank you, Grace.

 

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The last 2 bunches of balloons went up to the hospital.  I wanted to go to the pediatric floor, but I could not tell which floor that was.  Then I remembered the solemn event that sparked my quest and how hard it was to explain to my own kids about what happened at Sandy Hook elementary school.  I decided to just get off the elevator where ever it took me.

Hospitals are crappy places, I have to say.  I was just in one not long ago to visit a relative and I could read it on the faces of any patient I saw – they all just wanted to leave.  So I reasoned that bringing in some color and silliness would be a welcome addition to any person there.  I found a busy nurse and once again felt like I was imposing by asking her to see that the bundles went to someone’s room.

It felt good to know that at least 2 patients might have a reason to smile.  It felt even better to know I was free to leave and did not have to stay there any longer.  I am reminded that nurses have a tough job and don’t get paid enough for what they do.

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A few weeks ago we went caroling around the senior home with the kids at church.  Some of these folks get regular visitors, while others get absolutely none.  I was thinking about this as I tried to figure out where some of those office party balloons might be best used.

I grabbed two bunches and ran in to a mixed residence of high needs care and independent living.  I felt like I did not belong there so I was anxious to find an employee to ask for help with finding these gifts a recipient.  I found someone in the main office and asked her if she could give them to someone who needed a bright spot in their day.  I attached small notes of explanation to each bunch in the the hope that someone would read it and get inspired to act.

I wonder if the staff welcomes this kind of gesture or if they see it more like an intrusion or an imposition.  The last thing I want is to make someone else’s work more difficult.  In the end I decide they probably appreciate the chance to make someone a little less lonely, even if it is only for a minute.

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I took a plate of baked goodies to my local fire station with my note of thanks.  These men and women volunteer their time and have so much passion for helping others, it is an honor to do something kind for them.

As if serving the station weren’t enough, they dress up the firetrucks and service vehicles in Christmas lights every year and bring Santa to town on a hook and ladder during the community tree lighting.  Then they take tours of the town at least once a week,  driving past residential houses to bring the lights to everyone.  We are blessed and I am thankful.

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The balloons left over from the office party were going to get popped, but I had a different idea for them.  I’m as overwhelmed as every other Mom I know the week before Christmas, but I figured this is precisely the reason why it is so important to stop and take time to think of others and do these acts of kindness.

I corralled about 30 helium balloons to take out to my car.  As soon as I stepped outside, the wind tangled them all up in a bind and cold rain pelted them and me.  I had to catch myself from grumbling about it.  I felt bad about losing the spirit of the good deeds when I realized it would not always be as easy as opening my wallet.  In many cases, it is time that matters more than money.

I think it means more coming from me when I give my time, because right now I do value time more than money.  (Wow that was deep…)

Anyway, I took the balloons and tied a few up into bunches for delivery around town as I did some errands.  The first bunch went to my local behavioral health center where I volunteer.  I just left the balloons tied to the hand sanitizer at the reception desk with my note.  When I turned to leave, the room looked cheerier and I noticed people smiling when they saw them.  That little bit gave me some immediate gratification, and it felt pretty good.

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Michelle St. Onge

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