Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Today is the Small Kindnesses Blogsplash

Last week I blogged about the upcoming Small Kindesses Blogsplash which has been organized by Fiona Robyn who is an author, founding partner of Writing Our Way Home, and an all-around sweet person. When she was spreading the word of the event, she wrote these words: Kindness is a very good thing. Even teensy compassionate acts help the world go round. Let's celebrate these Small Kindnesses.

My novel 'Small Kindnesses' will be free on Tuesday the 27th, and we'll be writing about our own small kindness on our blogs or elsewhere - will you join us? Find out more here: http://www.writingourwayhome.com/2012/11/what-small-kindness-do-you-remember.html
It might be an extra-thoughtful Christmas present you've never forgotten, or the unexpected kindness of a stranger, or a small gesture that rescued you from a dark place. It might have happened this week or twenty years ago.

It might be a simple list of the small kindnesses you've received this week, or today. It might be a small kindness you've been inspired to perform. Follow your inspiration...

Well, there are many kind things that people have done for me through the years, and I try to do the same for others. To give you an example of how a small kindness can stay with you for a long time, I have decided to tell you about something that happened to me a very long time ago...back in my childhood. Oh, yes....THAT long ago. I must have been about 5 years old, six at the most. My mother had taken me to Rosenberry's (a grocery store that existed in my town at the time). My family consisted of my parents, myself, my sister, and my three brothers, so when mom went shopping, it took some time. As it is with children at this age, I became bored. I told her I was going to go to the horsey.

Photograph by Martine Wagner/Courtesy of PhotoXpress
 The horsey was situated near the check-out line (you know, one of those kiddy things where you put a coin in and ride it). It was a shiny brown horse and a big horse at that. I could barely get up on it myself. After a few tries I finally managed to get myself in the saddle. Since I had no coins (I think it only cost one quarter or maybe just a dime at that time...yeah, I am dating myself with that comment) I just sat on it and pretended it was moving. I rode that horse through fields of wildflowers, through small streams, down dirt trails through the woods, and back again.
An old man came along with his grocery items. He didn't have much. He put the few items on the belt at the checkout next to me, got out his wallet, and then turned to me. I don't remember his face exactly but do recall he had many wrinkles on his face, white-grey hair, and he looked kind of sad. More than that, I can't recall. Hey, it was almost 40 years ago. But what I do remember is that he asked if I'd even ridden the pony. I replied "once and it was fun". He asked if I would like to ride it again. Of course, I said yes. He then gave me a coin in my hand and another he put in the coin slot. Soon the horse began to move and I trotted and galloped through more fields and through more streams and down dirt trails. And I smiled and giggled and waved at the man as he left. Now he didn't look so sad. He was smiling.
I am not sure how long those rides last now, but back then they were long. Or at least it seemed that way. Perhaps it was just the perception of a young mind that made it so long. But after that long ride I took the extra coin and put it in the slot, just like the old man did, and I held on tight as the ride began. I was riding that beautiful brown horse when my mother arrived. She was quite surprised. I told her about the man. At first she wasn't too happy that I talked to a stranger, but after she realized it was such a brief encounter (he hadn't asked my name or done anything that could be perceived as "iffy" behavior) she seemed more worried about if I said thank you or not. I am sure I told her I did. And I am sure I probably didn't. I was too absorbed in sheer delight of riding. Yet, I think that man knew from my reaction of pure joy that I was thankful. And looking back I realize that he was thankful he could bring a bit of joy to my day. Kindness is like that. Not only does it make the recipient happy, but it brings happiness to the one giving the kindness. And sometimes that kindness, even if it is only the small kindness of  making a battery-operated kiddie ride possible, might be remembered for a lifetime.
So why not go out and do something kind for someone today? And tomorrow. And the next day. To family, a friend, neighbor, or stranger.
Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. ~Henry James
Whether one believes in religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion. ~ Dalai Lama  


creativechai said...

Hi Linda,

A lovely story, and beautifully told. I bet that old man would have been thrilled to know that his small act of kindness to a young child would still be reverberating 40 years later!

Laurie Kolp said...

This is a wonderful story, Linda... thanks for sharing. I just love how your imagination worked as you pretend rode the horse... and then the kindness of that stranger, what a treasure. I know you made his day as much as he did yours.

becca said...


Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Such a lovely post, Linda. and so beautifully written.