Everyone loves windfalls. When someone pays my rent, bails me out of debt or saves my pet from getting run over in the street, I am very grateful. Life is punctuated by grand gestures where gaps in our ability are bridged by someone more capable and able to help. These are the stories we read in the news — the rescue of a drowning child, the deliverance from the burning building, or the miraculous save in a medical emergency. They are life-changing, but they are rare and precious.
I was thinking about the grand saves that have mattered most in my own life, when it dawned on me that I was focusing on the wrong things. What do I love most about my mother? My Mom hasn’t saved me from a burning building, though she may have paid my rent. But that is not why I love my Mom. I love her because of the little things she has always done for me. When I worked in the yard, there was almost always a cold glass of water or milk and cookies waiting for me when I went inside for a break. When I was doing the dishes, she would come up behind me, bump me aside and tell me to go read a certain article while she did my dishes for me. When I finished, we would have a long talk about all the neat things I had read. Turns out that small kindnesses have changed my life as much, if not more, than the windfalls I’ve been blessed with.
If you really want to make a difference in someone’s day, try practicing the following three kindnesses.
A Kind Word – Try to have something supportive to say to everyone you meet. Give genuine compliments freely and specifically, and try never to criticize or put down a person or their work. A kind word might not only brighten someone’s day, but change a life, giving someone the insight or confidence to attempt something new or seemingly out of reach.
A Genuine Smile – I once saw a big, rough-looking Polynesian walking down the street. He looked scary. As he got closer to me he looked me squarely in the eye and his face lit up in a huge smile as he warmly greeted me. He looked positively radiant. I went home and penned this line:
“The light of the soul is released through the teeth of a bright and happy smile.”
After that interchange I found myself smiling the rest of the day.
A Thoughtful Gesture – We may not have the opportunities the Savior had to heal the sick, the lame, or the blind, but we can spread the love of God through our actions all day, every day. Open a door for someone, pick up a dropped pen, give directions to someone who looks lost, help someone carry their things. The number of things we can do to show kindness are limited only by our own imaginations.
We don’t need to save someone from a burning building or perform some heroic act to help God succor His children. The Lord did little acts of kindness everywhere He went, and we can do the same. Fortunately for us, the rewards are great, and being kind to others makes us happy in return.
This article was written by Kelly Merrill at Mormonbasics.com