The excitement escalated as more and more people got involved, many of whom took it on as their own personal project, as well. I had been planning out for weeks various acts of kindness I would do on that day, even making a list (which is no surprise to those of you that know me!). And, before I knew it, November 19th was here.
I was so excited for the day to begin that I could barely sleep. What would I do first? How many things could I fit in a day? I arose early and raring to go. However, what my day ended up looking like was very different than the idealistic day I had envisioned.
I started with a cup of coffee to review my list and make my plan. So far, so good. Then I went to my computer to put a message on our Facebook page. Not so good. I found that my computer had been infected with a virus. A quick check on line (from another computer, obviously) revealed that this was a new virus that gets past your anti-virus protection and is virtually impossible to rid the computer of. Okay, now this is really not good. I checked my business client files, and they looked like they were okay, which was a huge relief. After my few minutes of panic and hysteria, I made a decision. “I can’t do anything about this situation right now. I will not let this rob my joy today.” So, I set all of this aside to be dealt with later. Now on with the “plan”.
Before I could start with my list of kind acts, my first order of the day was to help out Wildfire Elementary. They had gotten on board late in the game, but were very excited about being part of Kindness on Purpose Day. Each class had chosen their own project, and collected items to donate. In an effort to avoid adding additional work to the already busy teachers, I offered to deliver those items to their respective recipients. I figured this would take a couple hours then on with my own “plan”.
I got to the school bright and early and, was I in for a surprise! Even though they had less than a week to prepare, the results were unbelievable. There were items to go to the Humane Society, Crisis Nursery, Paradise Valley Food Bank, Fire Department, Police Department, as well as money to be mailed to the Red Cross and candy to deployed military personnel! Clearly this was not going to be something that could be done in an hour or two. So I began.
At 2:30 p.m., I was again pushing the large cart of items to my vehicle (a crossover SUV that holds a lot) for the third time. Yes, the third time, and when I say “loading”, I mean filling it to the roof, front seat, back seat, and hatch. My previous load consisted of heavy boxes of canned foods for the food bank. I was relieved that this load was a little lighter, it was mainly for the Crisis Nursery. Nevertheless, I was hot, tired, sweaty, hungry, thirsty – well, you get the picture. I had resigned myself to the fact that the “plan” for my own acts of kindness were out the window, at least for today. So, maybe after I get this loaded I would just go get a bite to eat and get an early start delivering the rest in the morning.
I looked down at the items on the cart I was preparing to load, and thoughts of the little babies that would have clean dry diapers, the toddlers drinking healthy juices from the sippy cups and the little girls happy for maybe just a few minutes by the Barbie dolls brought tears to my eyes. Up until this moment, I was just helping out the school, making deliveries. But then it became real to me, and I was moved beyond words. The next thing that touched my heart was the amazing generosity of the children, their parents, the teachers and the principal to lovingly shared so much with so many. I loaded the precious cargo while brushing away tears.
As I drove off, it occurred to me how self-serving I had been. Yes, I really do want to help others. But I have to admit, I was also looking for that warm fuzzy feeling when I would give my gift to some deserving person that would hug me and thank me. And we would both walk away feeling great.
Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeling good about doing kind things for others. Not at all. I just couldn’t help thinking about how helping others is not always a fuzzy warm feeling. Sometimes it’s just hard work like loading heavy things and sweating. And for me this was only just a day or two in my life. I thought of the many people that do this on a daily basis with very little recognition. The hospice workers that provide in so many ways in very tough situations, those that lovingly care for little children, while changing diapers and wiping runny noses in crisis nurseries, those that cook for soup kitchens, those that keep these facilities clean and safe, the military men and women who are constantly in harm’s way, those that shop, cook, clean, do maintenance, load, haul, encourage, assist, etc. The list goes on and on.
So, I would like to thank Wildfire Elementary for allowing me to get a glimpse of true service and to appreciate the many people that continue to do it willingly and tirelessly day after day.
I would also like to thank all of you. The entire month was unbelievable! The sweet blogs from each one of my children and my niece, Chelsey, your amazing acts of kindness, and the loving birthday messages to me will not be forgotten. Thank you for making this experience one I will never forget. And, in case you’re wondering, I do believe this may turn into an annual event. So get ready!
BTW, I did do some of the items on my list, and I’m still going. My new “plan” is to do at least one unexpected act of kindness every day! Won’t you join me?
Love you all, Debbie