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Friday, December 19, 2014

Good Deeds

I'm not a person of great wealth. If I were, I'd probably be one of those people who gives gifts to random strangers just because it feels so good. But the truth of the matter is, we don't need to have a lot of money at our disposal to make others happy.

When we were leaving the supermarket the other day, I remembered a day about a year ago when we were at the store. It was really close to Christmas, and the parking lot was overflowing with cars. We just happened to have fortunate timing and find a really good parking spot. As we were walking out of the store, we saw that people were circling the lot, trying to find open parking spaces. I told Trent I was going to tell someone to take our spot. I split off from him before we reached the car, and flagged down a driver. I told him that if he followed me and left us enough room to back out, he was welcome to our parking space. The look on his face was priceless. To see the stress melt off of his face was a Christmas gift that I gave myself. Both of us felt warm and fuzzy the rest of the afternoon.

See? Nothing big is necessary to make another person's day. All we need to do at any time of the year is just take a moment to think about someone else. That's why if someone gets behind us in the checkout lane and only has a couple of items, we will insist politely that they should go ahead of us. Even though it feels wonderful to do little good deeds, it can sometimes make me a bit sad. Why? Because people are so stunned by strangers being kind or polite to them. It's a sad state of affairs when an act of courtesy becomes so out-of-the-norm. Apparently common courtesy isn't very common any more.

Occasionally, one can see that Fate/Karma/Heaven/Whatever Works for You rewards kind behavior just like it seems to frequently punish unkind behavior. Wednesday evening was our apartment complex Christmas party. The leasing office was decked out for the holidays, and food was catered from Macaroni Grill. There's just one thing that I don't like about these parties. There is only one table available for sitting down and eating. There are lots of places to sit, but most of them require using your lap as your table. We like to sit with a few other residents that we usually only see at these parties. There's Marge, Vera, and the famous Mary. Mary is ninety-six years old. She lives alone, but comes to the parties with her son. And although he must be in his seventies, he will always be her baby, so she still calls him Tommy. Well, we wanted to make sure that Mary would be able to sit at the table, so we got there early and moved enough chairs to seat all of the people mentioned. And just because we were the first ones there (simply to make sure everyone had seats) we were given a gift. I am pleased to say that Mary and Marge also won prizes in the drawings that were held throughout the evening, but we were thrilled to be given an assortment of treats just because we wanted to make sure Mary had a convenient place to sit down and eat.

I am glad that I have always been aware of the importance and potential impact of small acts of kindness. I like to do them as frequently as I can, because I am selfish. Selfish enough to want to feel that warmth and happiness whenever possible. I don't need to get a prize for doing something decent. The good feeling I get is enough reward for me.