12 Days of Kindness
“Oftentimes, people reflect on their lives and wonder how they came to be at a certain crossroad or exactly how they got where they ended up. This can apply to anything in life, be it career choices, our choices of marriage partners or even personal decisions we’ve made, crises we’ve lived through.. A path is just that; a means of getting from one place to another and made up of individual stones or paces we take one after the other…When we start out on a certain path in our life, we don’t have the luxury of seeing where our footsteps will lead us…That’s the beauty of living…Every decision we make along the way leads us to more paths and so on and so on until by the end of our days, our life is one continuous string of smaller paths we have taken…All combined to make the final trail…Is it fate that leads us to veer from the original path we had in mind or is it something called destiny? Or is it a certain amount of luck, good and bad, or personal choice?”
I found the above quote online but could not find by whom it was said. We could spend days discussing it and whether or not the things said were true. One thing is clear, though. Our lives do contain those moments in which we seem to head “off course” only later to wonder if the “off course” was really the course we really needed to follow. Sometimes life’s detours take us where we needed to be all along.
Some of the sweetest fruits look ugly on the outside. The rough texture of the skin of an avocado is in direct contrast to the smooth inner texture of the fruit hiding inside. Somewhat a color much like algae, who would expect the fruit of the avocado, often considered a bit bland, to be considered a superfood? Life often hides its treasures in the same way.
A friend of mine considers people who never think outside of the box to be people who believe in a “small God”. People who discriminate do so, according to my friend, because they cannot conceive of a God who has children that look different than they do. Such people, my friend believes, have a narrow vision of their deity, a tunnel vision that does not allow for any colors beyond the primary colors, nor people who are different than they. In short, my friend concludes, they have a small, boring, bland God.
There are times when the world seems too vivid, life’s happenings too real and far too painful. There are days when bland and boring would seem like a gift to me. Then I realize that such bland and boring days would teach me nothing, give me no new opportunities to grow, and usually do not offer a reason to smile or laugh or feel the joy of life.
In her book “Rise Up and Salute the Sun”, Suzy Kassem wrote: “I have been finding treasures in places I did not want to search. I have been hearing wisdom from tongues I did not want to listen. I have been finding beauty where I did not want to look. And I have learned so much from journeys I did not want to take. Forgive me, O Gracious One; for I have been closing my ears and eyes for too long. I have learned that miracles are only called miracles because they are often witnessed by only those who can see through all of life’s illusions. I am ready to see what really exists on other side, what exists behind the blinds, and taste all the ugly fruit instead of all that looks right, plump and ripe.”
Today your challenge is to veer just a little bit off the beaten path you usually take and experience a fuller life. Perhaps it will be to take a different route home. Maybe you will select a different entrée to eat or just add a slice of avocado on a burger or to top off a baked potato. Maybe instead of watching television you will exercise or perhaps, or maybe you will put a treadmill in the room with your television or computer and do two things at once for a brief period. Maybe you will stop by a mall on the way home and walk inside, not purchasing anything, just getting some exercise and smiling at those you pass.
A popular viral video on Facebook features a toddler standing by the glass railing of an escalator. People descend to the floor below on the escalator as the toddler waves goodbye. Some never veer from their routine, never see her wave or smile, never realize someone has just shared the joy of life and caring about their journey with them. Others, however, do see her, the motion of her hand catching the corner of their eye. Instead of going down the escalator like they usually do, caught up in their own world, they veer from their norm and return her wave. Some smile back, and there are a few that even respond with their own “Bye bye!”
“In life one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day – or to celebrate each special day.” Rasheed Ogunlaru’s quote speaks to our challenge today. We can either stay on our regular course, limiting not only our God but our life, or we can realize that today is special just be being. Veer away from the humdrum of the regular routine and see the beauty of the moment. Let your deity be all that he/she could be and your life will be as well.