Think for a moment, of a time in your life, when you felt pretty low, Maybe you were breaking up with someone. Maybe someone you love was sick. Or maybe you lost someone or something that meant a lot to you. What did it feel like when someone offered you kindness. What did that do for your spirits?
We live in a world that values kindness. A search on Google for “random acts of kindness” will produce thousands of results. Random acts of kindness are in life insurance commercials and something positive to end the Evening News on television. The homeless person who spends his last dollar to help a friend in need. The rich man who leaves his company to serve meals in a homeless shelter.
Random acts of kindness make us feel really good as they should. But the thing about a random act of kindness is that as it’s name suggests …just random. The person who receives it has to rely on a whim. Either you are feeling incredibly grateful one day or your feeling very guilty on another day. As someone has said, they make the world more accidentally beautiful. But they are unpredictable, unexpected, and surprising.
Our challenge is that a person’s need for kindness is always there and not surprising. And the really giving act means that we are challenged to remove randomness from the equation and replace it with consistency.
So why not do something above and beyond and let’s call it an extremely unrandom act of kindness.
Extremely unrandom acts of kindness do not rely on your feeling of gratitude or your need to get rid of some guilt. Extremely unrandom acts of kindness depends on the resolve to reach out to others in our lives without depending on a mood. Our partners, our children, our parents and grandparents, and the strangers we encounter.
A colleague has spoken about where we can practice this. In our own homes: Is the language harsh and angry when they walk in the door or do we meet them with a smile? Is our judgement of their choices sarcastic or do we offer them encouragement and tell them we believe in them? With our friends do we let their loneliness make us uncomfortable or do we reach out. Do we look through people or do we stand up for them when others are bullying them. Do we notice their tears and ask what’s going on?
So what if we removed randomness from the equation and replaced it with being consistent? Was I kind today? Who in my world needs me?
Let kindness explode from our hearts. Become unbearably predictable and terribly boring in our unrandom acts of kindness so that not one person feels isolated. @TheRunningRabbi (Click to Tweet!)
And may we each be overflowing with the goodness of extremely unrandom acts of kindness.
Rabbi Hirshel Jaffe, a cancer survivor, is a motivational/inspirational speaker on the theme NEVER GIVE UP! He authored “Why Me? Why Anyone?” which chronicles his rescue from leukemia and his spiritual triumph over despair. Known as “The Running Rabbi” for competing in the NY Marathon, he received the “Award of Courage” from President Ronald Reagan in a White House ceremony. Rabbi Jaffe was one of the clergy who visited the American hostages in Iran to offer them comfort and hope and was asked by the President to greet them at the White House upon their return. He received an honorary Doctorate from his seminary for “his work with the sick, and his noble influence upon all people. You can follow him on Facebook.
Image courtesy of Loe Moshkovska.