The text message came in Friday at close to 3pm. I was a little down in the dumps because of some bad news I’d gotten at work a day earlier, and wasn’t exactly sure how to handle it at the moment. Sitting in my living room recliner, staring blankly into space, I heard my phone vibrate next to me. It was from a girl I’ve become friends with over the past year.
“OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!! I WAS NOT EXPECTING THIS!!!! YOU MADE MY DAY!”
She added 4 hearts after her words, and also included a photo in the message of exactly what she was referring to. It was a Lokai bracelet I’d secretly bought and had shipped to her nearly a month before when she got some bad news of her own from work. I hoped it would cheer her up at the time, but it took so long to be delivered that I felt like the moment had passed. Now, I figured, when she eventually did receive it, the gift wouldn’t mean nearly as much.
Boy, was I wrong.
She spent the next 15 minutes in text after text telling me how much she loved the bracelet, how surprised she was and, most importantly, how much it meant to her. I told her about the weird journey it had taken through the U.S. Mail to reach her, and we talked about how fortunate we were that it had arrived before she bought one of her own. It turned out she had her eyes on just such an item, and had come close to ordering it herself. I was grinning so hard that my cheeks were hurting as I continued received messages of appreciation. I was thrilled to have affected her so much with the gift.
Shortly after the last of her thank-yous and my you’re-welcomes, I received an email from her mother, who happened to have been there when her daughter got the bracelet. She wanted to personally thank me for making her little girl feel so special that day, and tell me how she wished she could have captured the childlike excitement that had been on her face. Her eyes, she said, were shining so very bright.
My heart was full. I was nearly in tears trying to imagine the beauty of that scene; moved by how deeply they were touched by a small and random act of kindness.
That’s when it hit me. I had gotten crummy news from work recently, and had been in a pensive mood before all this had happened. Now, it was totally and completely gone. Any feelings I once had of anxiety and stress had simply drifted away. Stuff at work was no longer important. I was too busy feeling great to dwell on the negative.
In the Ricky Gervais series, “Derek,” his eponymous character says that “kindness is magic.” He’s right. It is. There are many things that people might call the secret to happiness. Maybe to some it’s money, to others the love of a significant other. And sure, those things are nice, though not always easily attainable for many of us. But one simple thing we’re all capable of is kindness. Generosity. Giving to others, without concern for what we will receive in return. We can be considerate and loving even during the times in our life when we are not feeling our best. Maybe those are the best times to do so, actually. Because even though we should be kind without worrying about what we will gain, I want to tell you that, if you open your heart, what you will receive more often than not is the most wonderful and inspiring feeling in all of the world. It is amazing, and exactly what I want for all of you reading this today.
Thank you so much.