Waking up randomly one day and thinking of what random acts of kindness I can do for strangers has not been a normal practice for me. Yes, I am not unfamiliar with compassionate love and fortunately have had my fair share in sincerely reaching out to help those in need, but pushing myself to look out specifically to give a random act of kindness is something I have not tried. A fruitful exercise from our local community, aptly named “Somewhere Down The Road” addressed just that.
Being a very reserved person, my expectations were rather different in participating in this activity, and found it quite challenging to get out of my comfort zone, in a foreign country no less. The group conducted the activity around the area of Toa Payoh, Singapore. The mechanics are simple – look out for anyone in the public whom you may give a random act of kindness to. Anyone. Simple as it may be, the experience and result is surprisingly overwhelming.
This experience also reminded me of a rather sad reality: that not everyone is willing to be helped.
The message was clear. It simply emphasized the fundamental nature of kindness: that doing a good deed to others transcends scale. It doesn’t matter how big or small an act of kindness is, in fact, in most cases it’s always the smallest and unexpected things that truly count. Most of us think of great heights on how we can contribute greatly to other people’s lives, we think of going to the ends of the world with the sincere intention of making a big difference to touch as many people as we can with our kindness. Often or not, in the process we delay our intentions, if not postpone it indefinitely, not realizing that our kindness is needed just right in the corner. Our neighbors, the man in the train, the woman at the bus stop, a family in the grocery store, or that elderly having a hard time alighting a bus. Some things do not always require planning and grand timing. I realized God would particularly put you randomly in that perfect situation to be kind to others, as long as your heart is open to do so. He knows, and he will. It won’t even matter if you are ready or not, it will awe you how the opportunity will come, or rather, you yourself would be the opportunity that random strangers are waiting for. It’s the smallest things that always make the big difference. We will never know how a small token of sincere kindness, unsolicited, could make the day of a lonely person who may just be longing to be appreciated and feel loved.
Conversely, this experience also reminded me of a rather sad reality: that not everyone is willing to be helped. A lot of people would reject kindness, be it literally or figuratively, there are times our good deeds would simply be refused or neglected. Most importantly, the message and lesson would always be clear in making us realize that helping is not about being reciprocal. It won’t ever matter if good deeds are returned…these are not favors. Kindness could never be scaled and measured hence it should not have expectations. The most important thing is the act, of trying, of reaching out, of doing what is not dictated to us. It is our sincerity and willingness to do so.
Ready or not, life will give us that opportunity in random ways. Big or small, we are blessed if we do not miss that opportunity and our experiences need not to be compared with how others express their kindness. Life’s design is wonderful and as unique as each of us and there is nothing more truly human than being that random kind person ready to do a small good deed to everyone.