Mother Teresa’s quote has been running through my mind a lot these days. Do I spread love wherever I go? And how would I do that? What does it look like? Do people come to me leaving happier? When I really thought about it, I couldn’t say that was the case.
It’s been easy for me to talk about the fact that there is so much hate in the world, and all we hear about is the bad. But what am I doing to add love in the world? I write about and post stories that inspire me. I write about moments that matter that I’ve witnessed. Maybe it’s time for me to be part of those stories.
Awhile back, a friend mine was struggling with how to celebrate her 50th birthday. She didn’t really want a big party, that didn’t feel right. She didn’t want gifts, that didn’t feel right. She didn’t want a small gathering, that didn’t feel right either. She came up with what felt right to her and what mattered to her: She asked her friends and family to do an act of service and/or kindness and then share that experience with her. It could be any act of service or kindness, from spending a day volunteering with Habitat for Humanity to donating books to complimenting strangers.
Her birthday request inspired me. I had a few ideas but nothing felt quite right. Sure, I could donate to a favorite charity, but I already do that. Sure, I could donate clothes and items to Salvation Army, but I already do that. Sure, I could volunteer at a non-profit, but I already did that for ten years. And I didn’t want this to be some “gift” I could check off my list, one and done. I wanted this to make a difference somehow.
And then pieces started coming together, like a puzzle, forming a complete picture. Bad shit happening in the world, reading inspiring stories, me questioning how I spread love, my declaration of leaving this world a bit better and adding more love to it, my friend’s service request, and the holidays coming up—not to mention my annual holiday party. All these pieces connected, and I had my idea, my gift.
Starting today, December 1, I am doing 50 Days of Random Acts of Love and Kindness. This is my gift to my friend—and also to myself. I’m nervous, scared, excited, and happy about it. I’m afraid I’ll miss days, I’ll forget, I’ll fizzle out, or that people will not be receptive. And maybe those things will happen but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this feels good and like the right thing to do. I’ll check in periodically with my progress and what the experiences are like so stay tuned!
I read somewhere that, “Love is the most powerful force for change in the world.” I think that if we all shared love that maybe we could change the world.