Take a moment to smile and change the world: any small act of kindness. Last week I took all four children to the grocery store (while also being 38 weeks pregnant) and typically my older three children like to color pictures and give them as “gifts” to the unsuspecting check-out person. Well, at first I was irritated with myself because I chose the aisle with the crabby lady who wouldn’t crack a smile. My first thought: oh great, she’s going to ignore the pictures and the children will be upset. Note to self – address the situation later in the car.
Luckily, my children didn’t notice her mood right away and enthusiastically handed her the colored pictures. The woman apprehensively grabbed the folded papers and assumed they were garbage. She was about to throw them away, but I explained the children made presents for her … and then I waited for her reaction … you will never believe it, but her entire mood changed. The lady loved the pictures and was extremely chatty and kind to the children after receiving the “gifts.” These little ones who were so excited to color a picture for the check-out person (even though they didn’t know her) completely changed this lady’s demeanor. I’m sure every nearby shopper heard my huge (internal) sigh of relief.
This experience reaffirms my belief that adults are jaded (yes, none of us are exempt). We rely too much on our emotions, our social status, and how we create lasting impressions. Adults are self-centered. Why do we drift so far from the wonderment and simplicity of childhood? We need to become more like little children and give ourselves completely to the happiness of others for the Glory of God. After all, isn’t that our purpose in this world — to know, love, and serve God in this world so that we may be happy with him in the next? And wouldn’t it make sense that we should start by loving others souls, no matter who they are, because they are also created in the Image and Likeness of God.
“Never get tired of doing little things for others, sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.” ~St. Therese of the Child Jesus
I have heard many people question the deterioration of their own sanity and well-being by giving all of themselves to help others. Society constantly asks the same selfish questions day in and day out. “What have you done for yourself today?” “How will you reward yourself?” It is the uncontrollable reward system that exemplifies very little Christian virtue.
Let’s look at this from a different point of view; let us be charitable for the sake of loving and thereby offering an unconditional love for God. For it is not only Faith, Hope, and Love that encompasses charity and self-sacrifice. The more love and attention I give to my children and husband, the less I focus on myself and interestingly enough, I am transported into a sublime state of happiness. My love has grown leaps and bounds for my family over the years. The more children we have, and the more I dedicate my entire being to the welfare of my family, the more I love them all. There’s an amazing never-ending supply of love provided by God for us to pour upon others.
We shall never regret loving another person, even if they aren’t receptive, but there will definitely be regrets if we never try. So, instead of “paying it forward” only around Christmas time or a few moments a year when social media reminds us, as faithful Catholics who are part of the Mystical Body of Christ’s Church, let’s give all of ourselves each and every day whether through a smile, a kind act, prayer, or penance. Every person deserves to be loved – family, friends, and strangers.
Created by God as social beings who desire love, let’s unconditionally give that love, while also raising our children to do the same, because ultimately, what is life without love? And what better way to combat the evils, destruction, and hatred in this world than through the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity.
“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.” ~St. Therese of the Child Jesus
A Catholic Mom’s Bucket List of Love
- Invite a friend/family member over for dinner who is alone.
- Bake your favorite cookies and drop them off at a neighbor’s house.
- Pick a handful of flowers and visit an elderly relative.
- Bring your children to visit the elderly at a nursing home.
- Teach your children to sing hymns – “He who sings, prays twice.” ~ St. Augustine
- Smile at a stranger everyday and your children will quickly pick up the habit also.
- Enjoy every moment with your family and friends. You will never get a repeat. After God, family is the most important!
Copyright 2018 Danielle Heckenkamp