It was a bad day. One of those days where despite my best efforts I felt like I was bursting apart at the seams. I had taken on too many commitments and I was feeling completely overwhelmed at the thought of doing anything. This, unfortunately, extended into me being irritable, weepy, and not the kind of person anyone would want to be around. Rather than continue bringing my family down I decided to go for a drive and figure things out.
After about 20 minutes I arrived at the Walmart parking lot in the next town over. The sun was just starting to dip behind the mountains and there was a chill in the air. At the entrance to the parking lot sat a man in a wheelchair with an eye patch and a small weathered cardboard sign stating “anything helps please.”
As much as I wanted to keep having a pity party for myself, this quickly snapped me back to reality. All of my stressors are actually things I am really grateful for. I have two businesses that I absolutely love, a healthy family with two kids, a home – and the list continues. I will never have to wonder where my next meal will come from. I will never go hungry or without shelter. I am able to take myself and my family to the doctor when we need to, even preventively. And really for the most part if there is something I want, I can go get it.
I went inside to buy myself a small composition book but I couldn’t shake my sense of privilege. I decided there was no way I could drive out of the parking lot without doing something for this man. So I bought a few basic supplies – food, water, etc. and promptly left to deliver them. Our exchange was brief and I know it was nothing more than a short term relief for him.
This is not a new thing for me. I don’t usually tell people when I do something kind for someone else because I feel that it often defeats the purpose. I am not telling this story to make myself look better or to brag about lifting someone else up. I am sharing with the intention to inspire you all to do the same. When I am having a terrible day I try to do something out of the ordinary for someone else, usually a stranger. This can look like buying someone’s coffee or giving my waiter an exceptionally large tip. This almost always puts me in a better mood and helps me regain a perspective of gratitude for all I have.
Gratitude and kindness are FREE. Let’s all work to expand these qualities within ourselves and see how the world changes.