Let’s start with a quote attributed to Martin Kornfield: “If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction.”
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You may not know or believe this, but I am kinda shy and this tends to lead folks to the conclusion that I’m emotionally shallow. I keep things close to the vest and, as such, can seem distant and not nice.
That said, well, I remember what is probably the only “nice” thing I have ever done. T’was the summer of 1982. At 19 strapping-young years of age, I was home for summer vacation from good old Central Michigan University.
Summer “vacation” of course meant working 40-plus hours a week at Lakeview Cemetery in Clarkston. And, while I dug that job, folks were dying to get in and I had responsibility and a lot of people beneath me, I still liked to hang out with people my own age — definitely not spend time with any of my three younger sisters: Not Barbie, not Patty, nor Nancy Christine, then 10 years old.
Don’t know what kind of faerie sprite pwanged me with glittery pixie dust, but for some odd reason I volunteered to take Nancy and one her girl friends to the movies to see E.T. (That sweet little tale about a friendly alien who says, “Phone Home” a lot.)
(That’s it. My moment of goodness in an otherwise bleak and uneventful life.)
Or, so I reckoned. Just like there was time for Ebenezer Scrooge to change his shallow ways back in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol there was time for me to be nicer. It took me a few decades to get there, but last year I found an outlet to let in niceness — on social media of all places!
Wrote I, 12 months and 24 months ago this week:
“I will admit it, I am emotionally retarded. To many, I am distant. Stoic. I have shared my soul with only a few precious people. It’s not that I don’t feel, I am human. I just don’t share well with others what is inside my coat of armor.
“I am impartial.
“I am balanced.
“I am forever calm (one even called me her human Valium).
“So, imagine my surprise the other week when I read a post on Facebook by a total stranger and then felt something stir somewhere deep inside my heart. What the heck? Was that a chink in my cold, hard armor I heard?”
At least I’m consistent in my self-narration.
Good Deeds For Zach
This is the third year I have gottne behind Teena and husband Dan Finn, Jr.’s effort to make the world a more betterer place. The couple lost their son Zach to an automobile accident two months after he graduated from Clarkston High School, on Aug. 4, 2012. Grief is a twisty and tricky emotion to navigate. Somewhere along their road, some way and some how they came to a crossroad. They turned outwards to help heal their innards. #Good Deeds for Zach is their rally vehicle to traverse the hills, ruts, bumps and mud during the emotionally-charged and hard, holiday season and Zach’s birthday.
Wrote Teena, “Big or small, acts of kindness go a long way in making the world a better place. Please take a moment on Zach’s birthday to honor him, and do a good deed for someone, and help us keep his memory alive. And please share your good deed on social media with #GoodDeedsForZach so that we can see and appreciate them all.
“We’re looking forward to seeing all the wonderful deeds everyone does. I know it’s not usually something people want to brag about, but in this case, please make an exception, and share your good deed here, or anywhere on social media with #GoodDeedsForZach so that we can enjoy and appreciate them. Zach’s birthday is an exceptionally difficult day for us, and the outpouring of positivity and goodwill go a long way in helping ease our pain. So please share, and tell your friends to do the same.”
For the past two years I have writtene on tiny pieces of paper, “Smile, somebody loves you” and placed them in random library books. I like to call them “little love bombs” and hope that some day in the future, when somebody randomly turns the page in their library book the note will make them smile. You can bake some cookies for somebody. Go visit a senior citizen. Pay for somebody’s coffee. Smile at a stranger. Heck, forgive somebody.
Then, if you are so inclined, let Teena and Dan know what act of kindness you shared with the world.
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Sometime after I took Nancy and her friend (I think it might have been Kelly Parker) to the movies that summer day, singer/songwriter Neil Diamond was influenced by E.T. and released the single Heartlight. A schmarmy, schmaltzie pop song, I still remember the hook:
Turn on your heartlight
Let it shine wherever you go
Let it make a happy glow
For all the world to see
Turn on your heartlight
Please think about it. On Dec. 4, start doing something nice. Let your heartlight shine and when you do, think a bit about the Finns, Teena, Dan and Zach.