Kindness without a Thank You

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


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.