Friday, February 25, 2011


More than a cup 'o Joe: Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts Of Kindness (RAOKs) can be witnessed everywhere and anywhere around my campus. I believe they are truly everywhere (not just my campus) if you have the eyes to see them. I'd like to take you back to this past Monday.

On Monday, we had a snow day. This was the perfect opportunity for me to catch up on homework, so I spent a few hours at a coffee shop near campus, first catching up with a friend and then hitting the books. While I was there, one of the employees approached the section where I was sitting and made an announcement. He told us that there was at that time a man who was outside shovelling the parking lot and the sidewalk. He had also been shovelling through the night before when people were stuck. Keep in mind....the snow was piling on more each minute, so it was getting pretty difficult to get anywhere and it was treacherous. The man was homeless, and he was shovelling through the night so that he could keep warm, but I don't doubt that he was also doing it out of the generosity of his heart. After all, there are 24/7 places open that are warm and don't require physical labor. The employee of the coffee shop then asked if any of us would be willing to pitch in a few bucks for him so that he would be able to stay at a homeless shelter for a few nights. Instantly, many people around me and I opened our wallets, empyting our spare change and dollars into the coffee shop's "tip jar". Just a few minutes later, I saw the man outside shovelling, and it all became so clear: 3 random acts of kindness had taken place before my eyes.

1. The generosity of the man who shovelled snow during a blizzard, helping individuals and the coffee shop alike

2. The kindness and compassion of the coffee shop employees to welcome this man's help and take up an offering for his well-being

3. The care of all those around me who were there merely drinking coffee/doing homework who gave their money to help a man we didn't know

I was so happy to have witnessed the random acts of kindness take place before my eyes on Monday. It really restores and reaffirms my belief in the goodness of people and our great capacity for virtue. Unfortunately, it's not every day that we are invited to be generous. Sometimes we need to ask others to be generous....of time, money, energy, prayer...the list is endless. We also need to be willing to accept the gifts of others. I was humbled today when a friend of mine told me that she and the girls who live on her floor had prayed for engaged couples a day ago, and so she was praying for me & Bill. I am always glad to be a recipient of prayers....seriously, that's the best gift ever. (Keep that in mind for my birthday coming up on March 29th....nudge nudge)

Lent is coming up, so I challenge you to think of a way in which you can :

a) Do random acts of kindness AND often

b) Invite others to be generous

c) Receive the generosity of others graciously

Thanks for reading! As always, leave me your comments and look for a new blog post soon.


William said...

As Mother Teresa said, "Give until is hurts." This is a tall order...but we have to strive to live charitably. This is the cornerstone of Christ's kingdom: charity.

Liz said...

So very true Bill...a lot of times we want to give, but stop early, stop short of the sacrifice. Clearly, Christ does not want us to stop short but continue to give...all the way to His Cross.