April 1, 2013

A Kindness

The other day, I did a nice thing for a stranger. It wasn't anything life changing, just a small act of kindness. And I'm not bragging on myself...what I want to share is why I did the nice thing.

I did not do something nice because of any sort of spiritual beliefs or convictions I hold, even though I am a Christian. I did not do it because of how it would make me look to the other person or anyone else. In the moment it happened, I wasn't even sure why I was doing it. 

Later, I realized I did it because of two men and the impact they have had on my life: my grandfathers.

On paper, they might seem very different. One was born in Texas, the other in Michigan. One attended college, the other didn't. Regardless, they are two of the very smartest people I have ever known. One is extremely liberal, a self-proclaimed 'yellow dog democrat' while the other is pretty conservative, the son of a Freewill Baptist minister.

The thing they have in common (other than loving me) is the fact that they are two of the biggest bleeding hearts you'll ever meet...and I mean that in the best sense of the phrase. It's probably to their own detriment -- because they are so giving, I think they have a tendency to be taken advantage of. But the best thing is, they don't even seem to care.

The reason they do for other people, in my opinion, is that they want them to have good lives. And on some level that has stuck with me because it's the same reason I did a small kind thing for a stranger this week.

It wasn't because I'm a good person. It was because I have seen kindness demonstrated, time and time again, by two people who mean so much to me. I'm not saying they are perfect. Nobody is. But I believe they always intend to help, not to harm. My life would look so different were it not for them and I don't want to imagine a world without them in it. But I take comfort knowing that in those moments when I have the opportunity to do a small kindness, it can be a testament to the lives my grandfathers have lived.

Is there someone in your life who made this kind of impact on you? Perhaps you are that person to a whole group of people. I guess my reason for writing this post is to remind myself (and you) that even the tiniest thing can make a difference. I have been the recipient of kindness so many times. I'm glad I had the chance to pass it on, even in a small way.