faith in us

~

It all started when I saw THIS on a friend’s Facebook wall.

I clicked on the link and read.

Ann Curry is calling on people all over the world to do 26 random acts of kindness for each of the people killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School. Here’s some inspiration from people who have already begun. 

And there they were. Picture after picture of small kindnesses passed from one person to the next in honor of the victims of last week’s horror. None of them were big nor splashy. Instead they were just small gestures of friendliness – and connection.

One woman left flowers on a random car in a Walgreen’s parking lot. One put extra change in the parking meter so that it would be full when she left it for the next person. One family went to see a mall Santa, not to ask for gifts, but to bring him a Starbuck’s gift card. Some paid the toll for the car behind them, some brought hot cocoa to the security guards who stand outside in the cold all day.

One of my very favorites said, “I can’t help anyone financially, so I’m visiting people.”

I was moved to my core. I cried. The tears that had been so close to the surface since last week finally came in big, wet heaving sobs. And when they did, they began, ever so slowly, to wash away the pain of loss and replace it with faith — not faith in God nor faith in government nor faith in someone riding in on a white horse to make everything better, but faith in US – faith that WE will begin reaching out to one another in earnest, faith that we will take care of each other, faith that one less person might fall through the cracks because someone saw him hurting and reached out with an open heart.

In what was feeling like a big empty space, Faith began to take root.

So I started by typing up 26 of these …

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(I would later tweak the wording to this …)

This small act of kindness has been brought to you by 26 Acts in honor of the victims of last week’s shooting. 

I hope it makes your day just a little brighter.

All I ask in return is that you commit your own act of kindness today.

#26Acts

Pass it on. 

~

Next I bought 26 of these …

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And then I got started.

And this is what happened …

Screen shot 2012-12-20 at 6.00.11 AM

Can you read it? This is what it says …

I handed them to every security guard I passed this morning. I gave one to the woman who makes my coffee every day. I gave them to my coworkers.

But the one that nearly did me in was the elderly maintenance man in my building. I’ve never heard him speak. I’ve tried to catch his eye and offer a smile in the past, but he has averted his eyes. When I told my colleagues about him, not a single one knew who I was talking about. To them, he’s invisible.

But this morning, I touched him gently on the arm and said, “Good morning, sir; this is for you. 

His face lit up. I swear to God you’d think I’d handed him the keys to a Maserati. It was a one dollar holiday scratch ticket – one lousy dollar – but it meant that he had been SEEN.

I nearly drowned in the beauty and – simultaneous sadness – of the moment. We’ve got to do better.

#26Acts

Over the course of the day, I plotted. This was too much fun to stop. Where else could I spread the word? I decided that it really didn’t have to be any more complicated than it had been in the morning, I just had to keep going.

So I did. I bought 15 more tickets. At a dollar a piece, my grand total for this escapade was now up to the price of a movie and some candy. Entertainment for two vs 41 smiles? Yes please.

Screen shot 2012-12-20 at 6.05.09 AM

This morning, we have a team meeting at Brooke’s school (more on that tomorrow). I know that seeing those people – the ones who care for my girl – the ones who I know would have … well, the ones who would … I know I’m going to get emotional.

I know I will want – need – to say something. I know that words will be scarce.

So last night, I reloaded again. In the Jewish tradition, 18 is a lucky number – a chai. And any number that is a multiple of 18 is too. I like that logic. Multiples of 26. Yes.

So Katie and I went to the store. And that’s when it got even better …

Screen shot 2012-12-20 at 6.18.26 AM

 

I know, right?

On the way home, Katie asked if she could do it too. She decided that her connection currency would be chocolate. Hershey’s kisses, to be precise. And she’d leave them in secret.

She planned her course – the guidance counselor, the secretary, her teachers, that boy whose name she doesn’t know. I told her to look for the people that she doesn’t usually see. “Those are the ones, baby,” I said. “Don’t let anyone be invisible, okay? Look hard.” She promised that she would.

One small act of kindness. That’s all it takes. Just one. To change a day, to see a person, to make a connection, to help one less person fall through the cracks.

I thought about the maintenance man all day. And into the night. I woke up determined. Today, I’m going to ask his name. I’m going to tell him mine.

We have to do better.

The good news is, we can.

And I faith that we will.

I’m starting small. One scratch ticket at a time.

All I ask in return is that you commit your own act of kindness today.

#26Acts

Pass it on. 

*

Ed note: Looking for more to read or watch? Here are two incredible posts and one of the best videos I’ve ever seen, along with my latest article on Huffington Post offering my take on guns. You don’t have to agree, of course, but I do ask you to read it with an open mind. xo

Being Scary by Landon Bryce

Dear Elisabeth Who Thinks That All Autistic People Should Be Locked Up by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

Fireflies

Cars, Guns and Other Deadly Weapons by me

19 thoughts on “faith in us

  1. I’m crying. I’m doing this, too. First it was a note of thanks to someone I haven’t spoken to in years. Next a thank you to the school’s principal. Today I must do something else…there is so much joy in giving not because it’s deserved, not because you expect something in return, but just in hope that the giving will be passed on! I’m reminded of the mom of Ana Marquez-Greene (I knew the family slightly a few years ago), who concluded a brief note on her daughter’s memorial Facebook page with “Love Wins!”

  2. I had already been helping some people I know who are having a rough time. In secret of course..but I had not heard of the acts of kindness. So at least I have already started…but I will do at least 27, as even though young mans mother was not at the school, her death should be included; she is the one most people don’t see in all this and she counted too…

  3. I am in too – for 27. Thank you for the idea. Yesterday, my secretary had her breakfast purchased annonymously by a stranger and she was so excited to be a recipient of an act of kindness – – which was a wonderful boost for her as she is bracing for her first Christmas without her beloved husband who died suddenly earlier in the year. I believe a little magic will be created from all of this – – it certainly was yesterday for someone I adore.

  4. these tiny acts of kindness can change the world. And I’m not sure who feels better, the recipient or the doer. Thanks fr the inspiration.

  5. This may be controversial, but I am in too…for 28.

    I don’t pray, but doing something good and kind in That Person’s name…I don’t know. The hardest lesson I had in my Sunday School days was praying for sinners. It may be the equivalent of spitting in the ocean, but I want to try to balance all the horror he did.

  6. I bought my lotto tickets today and will print the tags and start giving them to people tomorrow! THANKS for the great idea!

  7. I embraced your idea – it was exactly what I needed to do in my grieving process. My favorite moments: the four ladies that work at a small Tim Hortin’s. There faces lit up, they were surprised, and so thankful. Also, an elderly homeless lady. She did not have her hand out to me-but I reached out to her, said good morning, smiled and passed her my small token. She smiled back and bestowed on me words of God bless you.
    I have 10 more random acts of kindness to make. I am seeking out the invisible and making them visible again! We all have a responsibility for one another.
    Jess- Merry Christmas to you and your family! Once again, you have helped me to heal and to see the beauty in the world. God Bless!

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