Random Acts of Kindness: The Travel Edition

Traveling during the holidays is not always smooth sailing. Everyone else is traveling, too. Lines are long, days can be longer. Family relations may be stretched to their limit. And the people who work for the travel businesses and services during this often-stressful time of year may receive the brunt of travelers’ short tempers.

late summer flowers (2)

Something about flowers brings a smile to people’s faces, even when times are tough. Flowers are used to celebrate, to comfort, to court, to console.

wild rose

Random acts of kindness (RAK) are wonderful actions extended with no expectation of anything in return, perhaps done quietly and anonymously. RAK need not wait for a holiday but when lives are extra-stressed (say, a parent trying to manage a small toddler after hours on a plane?) a RAK may be even more welcome. Why not the gift of flowers as the RAK?

villa flowers

We have done some of our family traveling over Christmas, and twice we helped the boys perform a little holiday RAK. I purchased a dozen inexpensive but lovely roses, wrapping each individually in a wet paper towel, small plastic bag, and foil over wrap, tied with a ribbon.

As we arrived at the airport, talked to flight attendants, picked up a rental car, checked in at the hotel, chatted with our waiter at dinner, the boys randomly gave away one of the roses. My favorite holiday RAK memory, though, was at the baggage claim.

A mother with a look on her face I have seen on my own more often than I can count over the years was trying to wrangle her child late in the evening. I told my son to bring her one of the roses, and he wanted to know, why her? I told him it was because she really needed one right now. He returned to us, leaving her gazing at her flower and then after him, with a huge smile on her face.

The simplest things can bring much joy, and the real joy is in giving.

Ciao! ~ Kat

Paying Joy Forward

“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” ~ E.B. White

These words echoed in my mind today, thanks to the reflective sermon at church this morning.  I am not an overtly religious person, and am of the “live and let live” philosophy when it comes to life choices.  But as I grow older, I have learned to appreciate the importance of taking an hour here and there to slow down and just be . . . just listen . . . just think.  Perhaps that is why no matter how frazzled and stretched thin I may be when I walk through the doors into the welcoming community at church, I feel a peace settle in during the hour or so that I am there.

Avalanche Lake Trail ~ Glacier National Park, Montana

Our pastor shared the E.B. White quote that opened this post, and she reminded us of the need to make room for joy in our lives every day.  Her sermon reinforced the ideal of enjoying the world while improving it at the same time; the two aspirations are not mutually exclusive.

Avalanche Lake Trail ~ Glacier National Park, Montana

During the month where so many take time to reflect on their blessings, gratitude often is intertwined with acts of kindness — joy given and joy received.  Improving the world may be found in the daily headlines — a solution that improves world health, predicting storm patterns earlier to help people move to places of safety in a timely manner, a brokered peace treaty.  Improving the world, however, also may be found at the local school where a volunteer sits with a child and opens his mind to the power of the written word, or down the street where a neighbor cheerfully shovels not only her sidewalk but also her elderly neighbor’s.  The world is not only the global stage, but also your own backyard.

Avalanche Lake ~ Glacier National Park, Montana

Take time to experience joy, to share joy, to receive joy.   And in doing so,  find your own way to improve the world.

Ciao! ~ Kat