They never stop.
And, truthfully, they rarely bring me joy.
But recently, a few minor incidents (and a deliberate change in thinking) have altered that fact.
Errands have always meant running like crazy with little time and less money to get things we need so that I can come home and run like crazy some more to do things we need so that I can do as much as I can then collapse into bed so I can get up the next day and do it again.
Today, as I ran my errands in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, I knew that there was not much I could do to help those families from this distance except keep them close in my heart, sending them strength and compassion.
But I could choose to look at my own town differently.
At my third stop of the day, I headed to Aldi — the grocery store famous for requiring you to bring a quarter to get your shopping cart. When you’re done with the cart, you get your quarter back. As I walked up to get my cart, a young man had just given his cart AND an extra quarter to a woman who was preparing to get hers. That woman turned to me and gave me the quarter so that I could use it to get my cart.
And so it went. Each of us handing the quarter to the next customer. When I was finished, I gave the cart to someone without taking their quarter. A tiny pay it forward moment that left me full of joy.
Because of 25 cents and a shopping cart.
That gratitude and joy continued as I headed to my next stop — like a ripple effect.
As I shopped for olive tapenade (which ought to be in the olive and pickle aisle, if you ask me…not in the salsa aisle), a woman in one of the motorized shopping carts was having difficulty getting a frozen turkey out of the freezer. On an ordinary day, I probably would have stopped to help her, but today I stopped and helped her, and as I did so, I briefly looked into her eyes, offered a smile and saw her humanness. She smiled back.
A conscious decision by me to see her as a unique person for just that moment, left me feeling warm and more connected. I don’t know her name. I will likely never see her again, but it doesn’t matter.
I felt more open.
I felt blessed.
Never underestimate the value of a tiny good deed.
Pay it forward.
Random Acts of Kindness.
Take care of one another.
We can change the world.