Sunday was the perfect day to sit outside with a good book—it was sunny and warm, and I was feeling extra tired after losing a precious hour of sleep that morning. I started reading Interrupted, a book on church and faith by Jen Hatmaker, that I checked out from my local library. Jen Hatmaker is quickly becoming a hero of mine—I discovered her through some of my other favorite writers, and the fact that she is on HGTV just makes me love her even more. Interrupted is one of the few books she’s written that I hadn’t read yet, so I brought it home and started reading. I was about halfway through when I turned a page and found this:
The money and note was attached to a card that told the story of Owen Thomas Parker:
I was blown away, both by the gesture and by the way Owen’s family is using his story for good—to bring joy and hope, to bring encouragement to the lives of people they’ll probably never meet. What they experienced is heartbreaking, and it could have broken them, too—but instead Owen’s life is changing the world for the better. I had a feeling Jen Hatmaker would love this just as much as I did, and so I shared it with her via twitter. I had no idea whether or not she would read it, but I shared it anyway. And she did read it. She responded with the sweetest message and then shared it on Facebook. The response was pretty amazing. So many people commented with stories about random acts of kindness they had done or acts of kindness that had been done for them. Others who had experienced something similar to the Parkers, shared how this inspired them to honor their loved one in the same way. Some challenged their friends (and themselves) to do something kind for someone else. Even more commented that this act of kindness restored their faith in people and goodness and gave them hope that a better world was possible.
It’s easy, I think, to assume the worst of people. It seems like most of what we know and most of what we see on tv and in headlines is that our world is full of hate. There is so much evil and brokenness. People treat each other with cruelty and mean-spiritedness, instead of kindness and love. We tend towards selfishness instead of generosity. It often feels like there’s not much hope at all.
But then things like this happen. Things that remind us that there are not only good people, but there are good people who are doing everything they can to spread a little love and light in the world. There are people who are choosing joy and opting to share it with others instead of keeping it for themselves. There are people who believe the world can be different—better—and are doing their part to make it happen.
Finding this little note in my library book also reminded me that kindness isn’t hard. The simplest acts can change someone’s day, just like this stranger’s act of kindness did for me. Finding this note inspired me to buy someone’s morning coffee and reading the stories and comments shared by so many strangers have me thinking about what else I can do to spread a little love this week. Kindness isn’t hard, and if we want the world to be different then it’s up to us—to look for good and be the good. Will you pass on some love this week? It won’t take much, but it will make all the difference. Kindness isn’t hard. It’s one of the best gifts we’ve got.