Monday started out like a typical day. My phone dinged a few times letting me know that I had a couple of packages waiting for me in the downstairs delivery lockers. No biggie. One of the things about apartment living – we order a lot more of our goods online. I was expecting several packages. (I even have a special folder in my email account to keep up with what has yet to be delivered.)
I headed downstairs with my trusty codes to unlock the lockers. I opened the first locker. Delivery from Williams-Sonoma. Check. I opened the second locker. Huh? The return address was foreign to me. Who do I know in Georgia? The box didn’t match the size of any of my anticipated deliveries. It was addressed to my full legal name. It’s not my birthday. I wasn’t expecting anything from the government.
Nothing on the outside of the box so much as hinted to its contents.
A little backstory before I reveal the contents of the mystery package – Last week, I had reached out to Delta Airlines for an odd request. Brooke’s absolutely favorite part of flying was Delta’s Biscoff cookies. She had even hidden a pack in her “snack drawer.” So, I was looking to buy some of Delta’s cookies for an event commemorating Brooke on March 16, which is the anniversary of the accident that took her life. An agent for Delta, Navaeh, called in response to my email and explained that I could purchase them from other sources but that they weren’t available for sale from Delta. I knew it was a long shot, but I had tried.
Long story short, after hearing more of our story, Navaeh found a way to honor my request. I was thrilled!
Maybe the cookies have arrived? No. Navaeh had gone above and beyond the call of duty in responding to my original request. And, here she is outdoing herself again. On behalf of Delta Airlines, she sent a note and gift basket extending condolences for our loss. Navaeh is the one who deserves a gift basket; not me.
Every now and again, someone does something that restores your faith in humanity. Someone does something unexpected and undeserved, leaving you amazed. Navaeh’s gift was a small act of kindness. I’m humbled and at the same time stirred me to pay it forward.
How do you react when you are on the receiving end of small acts of grace? I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t always react with humility. Sometimes, I’m so distracted or self-absorbed that I don’t even recognize some acts for the gifts that they are.
Our actions – large, small, good, bad – are like pebbles tossed out to skid across a pond. Each skip creating a new round of ripples. Those ripples are the ramifications of our choices. Those concentric circles extending out and sometimes overlapping with other circles are the impact of our actions, moods, words on others.
It doesn’t stop there. Once our actions, moods, words bounce off another soul, that soul sends its own stone skimming across the sea. Whole new sets of consequences ensue. And on and on and on and on.
What mark are you leaving on those around you? I sure wish that I could report that everyone in my path is awash in grace, mercy, and love. Again, I embarrassed to admit how often I fall short. But this doesn’t have to be the end of my story (or yours if you find yourself falling short from time to time.)
We are each endowed with spiritual gifts – leadership, hospitality, helping (providing a support), mercy (empathy, the ability to help those who are hurting), giving, exhortation (encouraging others through the Word), teaching, and so many others. “As each of you has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10. Peter was encouraging new Christians who were exiled and living among nonbelievers at the time. Peter wanted the new Christians to understand that their actions would speak louder than their words. Nonbelievers would more likely become curious about “This Jesus Guy” if they saw something different about his followers.
Like I am undeserving of Navaeh’s yummy gift basket, I’m even more undeserving of God’s gifts of grace and mercy. On the flip side, God’s unconditional love creates the ultimate ripple on the sea. His waves crash over me and should touch me on the deepest level. I should be humbled and at the same time impassioned to pay his grace forward.
I want others to see something different in me. I want others to see kindness rippling off me.
Our Brooke had a big heart. Yes, she could be “challenging,” but she would always surprise you in the end with some unexpected kindness. In memory of her big heart, we had planned a “Random Act of Kindness” Campaign in conjunction with the upcoming anniversary of her accident. Navaeh’s and Delta’s kindness has encouraged me to roll out the campaign sooner rather than later.
If you want to join us, it’s simple. Perform a “RAK.” When you perform your acts of kindness, pass along a short note to the recipient. The note might read something along the lines of This small act of kindness was done in loving memory of Brooke Posey (or fill in the name of someone you’ve loved and lost). Please keep the kindness going. If you’d like to share the story of the kindness you received, please use the hashtag – #Brookeitforward.
Need some ideas for Random Acts of Kindness? Here are few:
- Pay for the order behind you in the drive-thru (or leave extra money inside to pay for other patrons)
- Donate books to a school
- Leave money at the pony ride in the mall
- Drop off a King Cake or other yummy snack at a nursing home, a dentist’s office, a vet’s office, or anywhere else in need of a yummy treat
- Give your server a BIG tip
- Pick up the tab for someone eating alone
- Leave an encouraging note on someone’s windshield or on their desk
- Send coloring books or other toys to a children’s hospital
- Set up a lemonade stand (or hot chocolate stand) and hand out cups to passersby
- Drop off some old towels at your local animal shelter
- Give away a gift card that you know you’ll never use
- Donate to your favorite charity (If you need one – St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital is a good start.)
- Leave diapers at a local shelter for homeless or for victims of domestic violence
- Write a letter to a soldier who is deployed (Or if you know a family who has a service member deployed, drop off a meal)
This list only begins to scratch the surface of possible “Random Acts of Kindness,” but I hope it is enough to get you started. Feel free to add to this list in the comments.
Please join us in honoring Brooke’s memory and spread a little kindness along the way! Let’s share our unique spiritual gifts in creative ways. Let others see something different in us.
We can’t wait to see the creative ways that you spread kindness!
Please share this blog post so that we can get as many as possible to join us.
P.S. If you happen to be flying Delta, be extra kind to your flight crew and attendants and share a picture with your Biscoff Cookies with the hashtag – #BiscoffsforBrooke.