Random Schmandom

What will you do for someone else today?

We watched Evan Almighty the other day. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, I have one issue. They used the acronym ARK for Acts of Random Kindness, or Random Acts of Kindness as, I believe, it was originally ordered. Humorist Danny Wallace published a book with this title. Being someone who is always searching for the right word, I think pairing “random” with “acts of kindness” is a mistake.kindnessfeet-1868670_1280

Good ole’ Webster defines random as, “lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern– made, done, or chosen at random.” I know random. It’s how I live my life. When I have a day to myself, I prefer to go off on a whim. I do make lists, but it’s a rare treat when I cross something out and usually I’ve scribbled my loose intentions in a slant on a napkin or a grocery receipt which I stuff somewhere. Occasionally, I find a nest of scraps and they’re only marginally comprehensible. It’s a challenge for me to put out persistent, concerted effort to acquire a skill of any kind. Putting my keys in the same place twice is a major accomplishment. Routine is not on my non-existent agenda. At a certain point in our family life, my husband stated that we would each have our own particular seat at the dinner table. I bulked. I already felt organized. I told him I wasn’t in kindergarten anymore. Left on my own, I wouldn’t even eat at set times, but forage throughout the day, nibbling on bits of whatever it is I’m craving at the moment. My kids love this about me. Once when my husband was working late, my youngest daughter walked by and asked, “what’s for supper” as children often do. Without looking up, I said, “Halloween candy.” Later, that same daughter pranced past with chocolate smeared all over her beaming face. “This is the best day ever,” she cried.

Have you ever lived with a random person? Did you find them charming or exasperating? If you asked my husband, he wouldn’t describe my randomness as a kindnesschild-3858368_1280positive attribute. Can he rely on me? Yes and no. Can he predict my behavior? He’s given that up for health reasons. Does he find me interesting, amusing, or exciting, like an obscure, odd, colorful bird? An Emphatic Yes. So, random can be eye-opening and curious, but mostly it’s sporadic (“no plan, purpose or pattern”). I’m not saying it isn’t important for us to watch for those one-time opportunities to meet the small needs of people we encounter as we go about our day, but what if nothing presents itself? Am I off the hook? How many random acts of kindness do I need to accumulate in a day to really feel good about myself? I don’t want to make it a habit, do I?

Yes, I do. Kindness is not simply an act, but a way of being. It overflows from a loving, thankful heart. It often requires a sacrifice and it should be performed gladly without expectation. It’s not to be kept inside and doled out in a miserly fashion whenever it’s convenient or we feel up to it. It’s not enough to only show kindness one designated day kindnesstrabi-328402_1280or week of the year. The expression of kindness shouldn’t be limited to strangers or old people or street folk, but it should be given freely and lavishly. Spontaneous is good, but deliberate and thoughtful is better. Write a well-crafted love letter. Throw an elegant birthday party. Volunteer to be a Stem Cell donor. Use your skills to enrich the lives of others. Commit intentional, regular, meaningful acts of kindness. Become an expert and you will alter the world one kindness at a time.

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Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: @penelopepantaloons and don’t forget to mention that you’re a reader. It’s a private account. Thanks so much for your time and attention. 🙂

 

 

 

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What Does a Gal have to do to get a “Like” Around Here?

For those of you who enjoy watching movies and are around my age, you may remember the moment Sally Field received an Oscar for Best Actress in the 1985 film Places in the Heart. She was glowing and gushing as she delivered her acceptance speech, her bouncy curls combed high atop her head as was the style. (Watch the clip here.) She mentioned her cast and crew and her family and then went on to say something that has been mimicked and mocked ever since and I quote, “But I want to say thank you to you. I haven’t had an orthodox career and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it. And I can’t deny the fact that you like me. Right now! You like me!”
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The Scent of Unexpected Blessing

showerhead2The other day I was doing a shower for a delicate, little bird of a lady. When I shower people, I usually try to ask questions about their lives to put them at ease, because it’s such an intimate thing I do for them. As they share their stories and the warm water droplets contact and cleanse their bodies, the tension seems to drain away with the dirty water.

As the shower progressed, I began to open and use bathproducts2the bath products she brought with her. I massaged her head with oil of macadamia nuts. I scrubbed her down with raspberry shower gel. After gently patting her dry with the scratchy, white, hospital towels, I massaged a lotion called “Hawaiian Island Flowers” into her arms, legs, and back. I oohed and aahed and she giggled. I felt her happiness in this most unlikely place, enveloped in a cloud of heavenly scents. I’ve never been one to use a lot of bath products, nor have I ever really considered the virtues of aromatherapy, but in that moment, I was grateful for them and the effect they had on a delicate, little bird of a lady in a hospital shower.

Author’s note: This was written when I worked on the geriatric unit of my local hospital.

Complete the experience. Read this article The Right Way to Shower. I had been showering people some time before looking this up and was surprised at what I learned.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

The Sacred Meet and Greet

Somebody needs you. Don’t keep them waiting.

It happens when we leave the house, often numerous times a day. Two people who know each other pass by in a hallway at work or on the sidewalk, at school or a conference, at a bar, a gym, or in the church foyer. Our eyes meet, we recognize each other, and we acknowledge each other with a greeting. We say “Hello”, “Hey there”, or we throw out a quick “Hi”.
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Footprints in the Snow

For my husband

Walking together in the chill of a winter’s eve

Bodies craving warmth are bundled into obscurity

Breath hangs like icicles

You trudge on ahead

Diamonds sparkle at the crunch of your heavy boots

I follow sure-footed the glittering path you’ve made for me

I thank you for those footprints in the snow

For the many things you do for me

To make my life a little bit easier

 

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Ban the Bully

I was living in Bismarck, North Dakota. I’d just moved from Sterling Heights, Michigan midway through the 5th grade. Over that summer, my parents bought a house in another community and any headway I’d made in the friend department was lost as I changed schools again. I was to attend Grimsrud Elementary School just around the corner and down a long hill from our new home.
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Got Love?

Love makes the world go round and sometimes it makes me want to hurl.

I was recently thinking about what an amazing life I have and, as I tallied up the reasons, it became clear to me that it’s largely due to one thing; love. I’m loved. My parents, from chelsea-bock-65622a young age, taught me that God, my maker and sustainer, loves me with a passionate, unchanging, undying love.
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