Let’s start with a quote attributed to Martin Kornfield: “If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction.”
For the past few years I have gotten behind the initiative that you’re about to read about. And, I always start it the same way (change is hard, I reckon). — Don, November 2018.
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You may not know or believe this, but I am kinda shy and this tends to lead folks to the conclusion that I’m emotionally shallow. I keep things close to the vest and, as such, can seem distant and not nice.
That said, well, I remember what is probably the only “nice” thing I have ever done. T’was the summer of 1982. At 19 strapping-young years of age, I was home for summer vacation from good old Central Michigan University.
Summer “vacation” of course meant working 40-plus hours a week at Lakeview Cemetery in Clarkston. And, while I dug that job, folks were dying to get in and I had responsibility and a lot of people beneath me, I still liked to hang out with people my own age — definitely not spend time with any of my three younger sisters: Not Barbie, not Patty, nor Nancy Christine, then 10 years old.
Don’t know what kind of faerie sprite pwanged me with glittery pixie dust, but for some odd reason I volunteered to take Nancy and one her girl friends to the movies to see E.T. (That sweet little tale about a friendly alien who says, “Phone Home” a lot.)
(That’s it. My moment of goodness in an otherwise bleak and uneventful life.)
Or, so I reckoned. Just like there was time for Ebenezer Scrooge to change his shallow ways back in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol there was time for me to be nicer. It took me a few decades to get there, but last year I found an outlet to let in niceness — on social media of all places!
Wrote I, 12 months, 24 months and 36 months ago this week:
“I will admit it, I am emotionally retarded. To many, I am distant. Stoic. I have shared my soul with only a few precious people. It’s not that I don’t feel, I am human. I just don’t share well with others what is inside my coat of armor.
“I am impartial.
“I am balanced.
“I am forever calm (one even called me her human Valium).
“So, imagine my surprise the other week when I read a post on Facebook by a total stranger and then felt something stir somewhere deep inside my heart. What the heck? Was that a chink in my cold, hard armor I heard?”
At least I’m consistent in my self-narration.
Good Deeds For Zach
This is the fourth year I have gotten behind Teena and husband Dan Finn, Jr.’s effort to make the world a more betterer place. The couple lost their son Zach to an automobile accident two months after he graduated from Clarkston High School, on Aug. 4, 2012. Grief is a twisty and tricky emotion to navigate. Somewhere along their road, some way and some how they came to a crossroad. They turned outwards to help heal their innards. #Good Deeds for Zach is their rally vehicle to traverse the hills, ruts, bumps and mud during the emotionally-charged and hard, holiday season and Zach’s birthday.
Wrote Teena, “This has become a yearly celebration in honor and memory of our son, Zachary. Because he was such a kind, loving, and generous person, we choose to celebrate his birthday by asking everyone to channel a bit of him, by putting some good into the world. Random acts of kindness, charity, and generosity towards your fellow man. It could be something as small as complimenting a stranger, or as big as a donation to your favorite charity organization. The rules are simple:
“Do something good.
“Kindness is contagious, and we want to see his birthday full of it.”
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For the past three years I have written on tiny pieces of paper, “Smile, somebody loves you” and placed them in random library books. I like to call them “little love bombs” and hope that some day in the future, when somebody randomly turns the page in their library book the note will make them smile. I now have library cards to three libraries, so look out you book lovers!
You can bake some cookies for somebody. Go visit a senior citizen. Pay for somebody’s coffee. Smile at a stranger. Heck, forgive somebody, if for no other reason than you can.
Then, if you are so inclined, let Teena and Dan know what act of kindness you shared with the world.
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Sometime after I took Nancy and her friend (I think it might have been Kelly Parker) to the movies that summer day, singer/songwriter Neil Diamond was influenced by E.T. and released the single Heartlight. A schmarmy, schmaltzie pop song, I still remember the hook:
Turn on your heartlight
Let it shine wherever you go
Let it make a happy glow
For all the world to see
Turn on your heartlight
Please think about it. On Dec. 4, start doing something nice. Let your heartlight shine and when you do, think a bit about the Finns, Teena, Dan and Zach.
Share you random acts by emailing me at DontRushDon@gmail.com