"K" is for Kindness

Grateful April in the A-Z Blogging Challenge

When I first considered joining this A-Z blogging challenge, I seemed to focus only on the early letters: A, B, C, D… and I thought, "Gee, this will be easy!" I purposely forgot that the alphabet comes with prickly letters, too--the ones that don't happen at the beginning of words very often: I, Q, U, X, Y, Z… and K (today's letter). And when you're blogging with a theme (gratitude), your word choices are even further limited.

Kettle chips. I love them. That was the first "K" word that came to mind. Really? I blogged on health for "H" and I now my only choice for "K" was kettle chips? How about kids? Overused. Kindred spirits? That idea had some merit, but my friends are always at the top of my list. Kym!! She's my new friend and an excellent blogger, I am grateful for her. But until we have coffee (a girlfriend rite of passage), I won't know enough to dedicate an entire blog to that sweet, amazing, beautiful girl.

Then, it hit me. The constant theme in all of my posts in one way or another is this: Kindness. I am grateful for every bit of it, aren't we all? 

I'm a cat person, but even I can admit that if kindness could manifest itself in live form, it would be a dog. Kindness happens for no reason--it jumps up and licks you in the face when you least expect it, and it wants nothing in return. The only job of kindness is to bring joy. Sometimes you can take it for granted, but when it suddenly isn't around anymore, you miss it. Kindness is like that; it comes out of nowhere and touches your heart.

I am grateful for every act of kindness, from the stranger holding the door to the pay-it-forward Starbucks driver in front of me. Once, when I reached the window, the little barrista greeted me with jubilance  announcing that the cost of my drink had been paid by the car that just drove away. Would I like to continue the trend? I said yes, and she smiled even bigger: I was the 14th person in a row to say yes. 

Those are unforgettable kindnesses because they are big and impressive. But what about the small kindnesses? One time, my sister-in-law told me that when she opened the hall cupboard to get a bath towel before her shower, there was only one left. Her husband, seeing only one large towel, had used a hand towel to dry off and left her the giant bath-size towel. If she hadn't told me, that kindness would have slipped into oblivion. But today, I still think about it.

What about the flowers Rob picks and leaves by my coffee mug? What about the sticky notes Jordyn left all over my computer screen with her precious stick figures I love so much? The meal Allie cooked, the carpet Cam vacuumed, the text Jarret sent, the books Jerry brought, Amber's sweet wine bottle? And what about the scripture Jaisyn wrote by hand and then taped to my car visor? She didn't say a word--just let me find it on my own.

My mom has begun using emojis on her iPhone. She sends me sweet notes almost every day and finds just-the-right-icon to illustrate her texts.

Kindness. When a friend sends a text just to say, "You're awesome!" When another friend brings over flowers just to let you know she appreciates you. When a stranger smiles, when your gym coach saves your spin bike because he knows you're running late, or when someone leaves you a Facebook message saying they are thinking of you. When a nurse makes a pot of coffee because she knows you have a long night ahead.

Or when your friends continue to poke and prod you through an insufferable loss because they want to see you smile again. This is kindness.

As I sit here trying to remember stories of kindnesses, it strikes me that while the acts themselves can be forgotten, the feelings they leave in their wake last forever.

I can't remember why, for example, so many warm and fuzzy feelings envelop me when I think about certain people I haven't seen lately, but I know now that it's because their kindnesses have made deposits in my "feel good" bank. Imagine that if every time you helped a stranger, sent a card, baked a cake, held a door, complimented an outfit, or texted a kind word… you were making a deposit in your own name to that person's feel good account. Before long, you'd be rich with kindness karma! Every act of kindness we do has residual effects that long outlast the act itself. 

So for "K" my gratitude overfloweth for kindness. Thank you to everyone who has been posting such kind words here on my blog and on my Facebook wall about my writing. I'm banking those comments, folks. You people are getting RICH!