small acts of kindness
"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.
Be the living expression of God's kindness:
kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."
— Mother Teresa
The phone rang the other night:
Caller: “Good evening. This is [name] and I’m calling on behalf of the American Cancer Society. How are you this evening?”
Me: “I’m fine, [name], thank you. But this is the third call I’ve received from the American Cancer Society this week.”
Caller: “Oh …”
And in that “Oh …” I suddenly felt my ego-self drop away and my higher consciousness showed me a woman … a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend … working a job … putting in an honest day’s work, earning a paycheck to pay the bills. In that “Oh …”, I could feel her tense up, ready to be yelled at, hung up on or berated for bothering a person for the third time in a week.
Me: “It’s OK. I told the previous caller that I would help, so we’re all set. But thanks for calling!”
Caller (with obvious relief in her voice): “Oh, great! Thank you soooooo much. Have a great evening!”
I hung up with a smile on my face. I’d had a choice: I could be annoyed and blustery at being (insignificantly) inconvenienced and make this kind woman cower in her shoes … or I could simply and briefly explain the situation in a way that honored BOTH of us. The entire conversation took less than a minute. I wasn’t inconvenienced; the caller had done nothing wrong. I imagine the call list she was given hadn’t been de-duped and so my name appeared on multiple lists. Not her fault; a simple error. Things happen.
Some people brag about how they handle telemarketers, how they blow a whistle really loudly into the phone or curse at them and hang up, how they really “show them” for daring to call (i.e., do their job) in the first place. Why do that? What higher purpose does that serve? How does that make any of us better? How does that bring about heaven on earth?
It’s actually pretty rare that I get a telemarketer call. I’m on the National Do Not Call Registry (donotcall.gov) so the only calls I get are from organizations that I’ve provided information to, such as charities. But when I do get a call and I’m not interested, all it takes is a gentle “Thank you for calling, but I’m not interested at this time. Have a good evening.” Simple, kind, effective.
Every day, we have a myriad of opportunities to be kind to others, to smile, to wait our turn, to open a door, to give up a seat, to wave at a neighbor. These are opportunities to connect with our higher consciousness, to remember that we are all connected through our Divine nature, that we are One.
May you give and receive kindness. Namaste