Kindness without a Thank You

Life is so much better with the sweet aroma of kindness in it.

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What would happen to this world if each person once a month did something kind for someone else?   Now let’s take it one step further – what if when that kindness happened there was no reference to who the giver was?  That’s right there will be no recognition for the giving.  It may sound easy to do something nice for someone without a name attached to a card, etc but it’s not.  Most of us like to be told thank you or see a look of gratitude from those we have given to.

Many years ago I was challenged  to give in this way to another; and I want to share what the experience was like for me.  No names will be used on who this was for – otherwise they might feel even at this date some 20 years later obligated to give me a thank you or maybe they wouldn’t even remember because the lesson learned from that day was for me.

So here we go….

1.  I noticed someone in my life who was a giver to others and was very tired.   I knew this person well enough to recognize they didn’t enjoy cooking.  Sometimes we are gifted in an area that can enhance another person’s life.  What is hard for one is easy for another.  I knew that I liked to cook and an idea began to form.

    I would encourage you to take a few minutes and jot down your gifts – what do you like to do, what are you good at, what resources do you have.   Pray and ask God to help you see who you might offer a kindness to.  You may be surprised how easy the person and one of the things on your list come together.

2.  I put together a dinner and placed it in a brown paper bag in the  kitchen refrigerator of where I was attending a community meeting that this person also attended.   When this person wasn’t at her seat I placed a card telling her how much she was appreciated and where she could find her dinner when she left.

3.  Then the hard part came for me – would she see the card? – would she remember to take the dinner?  What if I had prepared something that would go unused – unnoticed?   

   I remember getting in my car that day and coming to terms that I needed to let it go.  It was not up to me on what happened to that dinner.  I was surprised that my “doing something nice” for someone had such a hold on me – not the doing but my desire for closure and yes, I’ll admit it – hearing the words “Thank You”  But as I left the parking lot I left a little freer than I had come.  I had given in an adventurous way.

Perhaps that dinner made someone’s day a little brighter – it’s not for me to know.  But I came away changed.  I practiced obedience, was humbled and  my character grew stronger from the experience. 

Matthew 2-4 “When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.

Here are a few ideas on doing this…

1.  It’s so nice to get a card in the mail (encourage with clean humor:  include a comic strip from the newspaper) – just remember to leave the return address off.  We never know what kind of day someone has had when they get the mail.  Your card may just be the thing that instills hope to carry on through a difficult time.

2.  With today’s economy – an unexpected $20.00 bill in the mail can make someone feel crazy loved – especially if you include a note to treat themselves or the kiddos to something that currently can’t be in the budget.  It doesn’t have to be huge to be impactful.

3.  Drop off fresh flowers from the grocery store with a Thinking of You Note.  Trader Joe’s has beautiful fresh flowers and you can pick up a vase if you want to fancy it up at a thrift store for basically nothing.  Tie a pretty ribbon around the neck of the vase and Voila – you’ve just become a florist.  The colors and delicacy of flowers bring hope into a room.  Note – Be careful with this idea if you are giving to someone who is in cancer treatment.  Often they can’t have fresh flowers in the house.  I just learned that recently.

I’d love to hear ways to have been touched by kindness.

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Comments

  1. shari hobus says:

    Debbie, So encouraged and uplifting to read you thoughts on anonymous kindness. I was blessed this Christmas with a $200.00 gift card to a local store. The card merely said I know you have had a difficult year, (my husband has been unemployed for over a year) thought you could use this. Imagine my surprise to be blessed by God in such a way. That God caused someone to act on what He had told them, Beautiful!!! I in turn cannot give financially at this time, but when I read some of my Bible study notes today my mind was drawn to a friend’s daughter and the difficulty they are having in their marriage. I did not hesitate but went right away to send them a note with some encouraging words and thoughts from my study. God can use us in so many ways that cost nothing. I look forward to the day when I can be generous financially again. God is faithful and He proves it every day! thanks shari

    • Shari, Thank you for taking the time to write. Your note made my heart so happy. God does provide and uses us each in our own way and in each season. I’m sure the person who received your note of encouragement was blessed just as much as you were when that unexpected money arrived. You blessed my day. Hugs – Debbie

  2. Thank you for sharing your ideas on paying it forward. I have been trying to do at least one random act of kindness a week for three years now and sometimes I run out of ideas.
    I often pay tolls for the person behind me, give grocery gift cards to Mom’s in supermarkets or pharmacy lines or something as simple as listening to a stranger on a plane and giving them a hug.
    Have a great weekend…

    • Doreen – I can tell you practice kindness in all kinds of tangible ways. Thank you for being an example of living a life that gives to others. I appreciate you leaving a comment. They make my day.