Random acts of kindness

This week has certainly not gone according to plan, but things are starting to look up. R is out of the hospital and my family is in town. We are about to take my mother to the beach. She has never seen the Atlantic Ocean before – we grew up on the Pacific – so that’s fun.

I took E to her piano lesson this morning, a little slice of normal that I suspect she needed. A couple weeks ago, we had visited an Eastern Orthodox shrine in St Augustine. While we were there, I bought a little bracelet with a cross on it for her piano teacher (who is a devout Christian).

This morning, I wrapped the bracelet up in a giant ribbon that had musical notation on it and had E give it to her. Her teacher was so overwhelmed by the gesture that I was somewhat surprised. She said she had never received a present from a student before.

I tell people all the time that whenever you feel like you are going through Hell, the best thing you can do to turn things around is perform a random act of kindness. We’ve made this a discipline in our family for years now. When we have a bad day, we go out to eat and give the server an enormous tip. We’ve had servers chase us down in the parking lot to thank us. You can’t have a bad day after that.

It is so easy to transfer your grief and annoyance to other people. To cut someone off in traffic or chew out a stranger or drop your basket on someone on social media. But the one thing that is going to make you feel genuinely better is to take the crap life dishes you and start a positive chain reaction with someone else.

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