Cathy Chester | An Empowered Spirit

How One Simple Act Of Kindness Can Make A Difference

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded. โ€“ Ralph Waldo Emerson

kindness wellness gratitude

I love this quote because it reminds me of the hope I hold in my heart that if my work makes a difference to someone else then I know my life has had meaning.

It feels good to help others the way that others have helped me. As Emerson said, I breathe easier.

There were times in my life when I felt trapped by illness, depression or the inability to care for myself. During those darkest days I was blessed by the gifts of unconditional love and support from my family.

I also received long distance surprises that helped shine a bright light on me. All of these positive forces from family and friends helped to bring me out of my darkness.

A NaBloPoMo prompt reminded me of this. It said:

“Tell us about one time that you benefitted from the kindness of strangers.”

I liked the idea of this, but what came to mind was the kindness of friends who live far away.

I often write about the short-lived depression I suffered a few summers ago. My hormones were out-of-balance after living through incredible pain, two surgeries and a few other minor procedures. I was in the doldrums with no will to eat, walk or socialize.

I was not myself.

kindness wellness gratitude

Three friends. Three gifts.

Then something wonderful happened. A package arrived at our front door. My husband brought the box to me and opened it. We unwrapped the beautiful packaging together to find a soft, beautifully knit moss-colored prayer shawl. The card revealed that a special knitting circle from a church in Texas made the shawl especially for me. The card was signed by a dear friend who took part in the circle.

I cried at the beauty of this gesture and wrapped the blanket around me. I felt the love from this group of women envelop me. It was a powerful moment.

A few days later another package arrived and again we unwrapped it together. Inside we found a brightly painted piece of artwork with the word “BLESSED” embellished across the bottom. Another powerful moment.

And, yes, a third package arrived at our door. In it was a simple yet spiritually meaningful book that I continue to turn to again and again for comfort. It, too, was a powerful moment in time.

These gifts were unexpected, and together they reminded me of the blessings we have and the joy we derive from the simplest acts of kindness.

“I’ve learned that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance.” ~Anonymous

I often reflect on the miracles that change the course of our lives, and how positive thoughts and deeds help to make that difference. I know it made one in mine.

It’s what brought me back into the light that summer, and gave me the chance to, hopefully, pass that light onto others.

Have you ever received an unexpected surprise that made a difference in your life?

38 thoughts on “How One Simple Act Of Kindness Can Make A Difference

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      It takes so little to make a difference in someone’s life.

      I didn’t mention that one year a bigger act made me happy when one of my friend’s in the photo WON A TRIP FOR 2 TO NAPA and brought me along (pre-married days.) That was some special Act! ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Transitioning Mom

    I love that quote. And, yes, I have been touched so often. One event that springs to mind, though, happened when I was heading in for surgery, again. It was 8th procedure, but the first in a string of 3 that would come in an 18 month period. When my husband returned from the hospital, he found a very large cooler filled with meals that carried him and the girls through several days. Additionally, the same friend arranged and scheduled meals each time I went in. I felt so very blessed and surprised. A weight had been taken off my shoulders knowing someone was watching out for my family while I couldn’t.
    Transitioning Mom recently posted…A half-century plus oneMy Profile

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      Mary,

      You’ve had more than your share of surgeries, and I know that worry of how to care for our children when we’re sick. I hated that – it still gives me nightmares. Glad you are okay now and that you had the kindness of those around you to help you take care of your family when you needed it most.

  2. Carol Cassara

    Such a great reminder that we never know how one simple kind act can change someone’s moment, day or even life. Kindness is the currency of the afterlife, and the price of admission, too, so at this age I’m very aware of the need to contribute–for my feel-good, theirs and my soul’s.
    Carol Cassara recently posted…Getting through these trying timesMy Profile

  3. kim tackett

    I remember years ago when I was overwhelmed at the holidays. I may have cried to a friend, “I hate f*****g Christmas.” (Yes, I am sure I did). Within hours, she had dinner at my doorstep. She just left it there. I can still recall it as the most delicious butternut squash soup I’ve ever had (plus fresh bread, salad and dessert). Thanks for reminding me.
    kim tackett recently posted…this week’s mojo to go :: 14 november 2014My Profile

  4. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    The small things really are the big things, and this post proves it. A group of women at my church knit afghans then once a month the afghans are strewn across pew backs for anyone to take โ€” no questions asked โ€” for someone in need of being wrapped up in prayer and love. I took one one Sunday for my sick sister and though she’s not a churchgoer, she was moved to tears by the kindness of women who don’t even know her.
    Lisa @ Grandma’s Briefs recently posted…See the Northern Lights on a Hurtigruten Cruise (sponsored)My Profile

  5. Helene Cohen Bludman

    So true how just a little bit of kindness goes such a long way. It was a beautiful gesture of your friends to send you such thoughtful gifts. Lovely.

  6. Elin Stebbins Waldal

    Once again you have touched my heart Cathy. what a gift you have in friendships. I love stories like these because they tear down the over played stereotypes depicted in television about women friendships.
    Last, I am reminded of a favorite quote: “We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.” -Ben Sweetland It always works both ways. You are a gift in this world and I am so glad to know you.
    Elin Stebbins Waldal recently posted…The Magic Hat, A Love StoryMy Profile

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks, Elin, for your lovely words and insights. How true about women friendships and how important they are as we age.

      I can’t tell if anyone understood that my 3 friends are related (in photo.) A mom and twin girls, all of who are more than dear to me. Although they live far from one another, and from me, they were in sync in their kind and gentle ways.

      I am sure you have similar friendships, Elin, because you are such a powerfully loving person. That comes through your writing.

  7. jamie@southmainmuse

    Isn’t it wonderful how we are blessed just when we need it the most. I’m sure there are many, many things — but one that leapt to mind was from many years ago. We were going to put our Atlanta house on the market. I needed to stay up all night painting. A friend called out of the blue and asked if our then 3 year old could stay with them the night, knowing I had been working hard trying to make improvements on the house. He had never spent the night out before but I thought — how wonderful. He could be happy and I could work in his room as late as I needed.
    jamie@southmainmuse recently posted…People of the Pool Alert System: Hot. Cold. Just Right.My Profile

  8. Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com

    Hi Cathy! That quote and the photo reminded me that everything we do is little a stone rippling outward on a pond. We can never know for sure how our actions will impact others but I think we need to remember that they ALWAYS do. As writers we actually carry that obligation with everything we write. Your words today have certainly done that for me and everyone else who have read them. Thank you! ~Kathy
    Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com recently posted…Why Iรขย€ย™m A Grateful Quitter And Why I Wish Everyone Else Was TooMy Profile

  9. doreenb8

    What lovely friends you have.
    I was given a prayer shawl when my best friend passed away in February. I love it. A friend of my mothers just made me a teddy bear and a pillow out of the shirt my father wore in my wedding and from his robe. I was overcome with emotion. I want to learn to make them…
    doreenb8 recently posted…Hell and Sons.My Profile

  10. BCarolyn Prince

    Dear Kathy,
    Your words speak to so many and your writing is a voice of Hope and Encouragement. I am more proud of you than you could ever know. Aren’t memories wonderful? “Mom”

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      I love you, Mom! You were the main reason I began to write this post. You’ve been my mentor and steady friend for 45 years – can you believe it? I hope the twins and I can come see you next year. It’s been too long. Thanks for being such a loving and steady force in my life. I love you in all ways, Cathy (your third daughter!)

  11. Snoskred

    Hey there, I found you via the NaBloPoMo blogroll.

    I love to be the sender of such things. It is very rare to have that returned, though. Recently my best friend in the US sent me a package as a surprise which brightened my week. ๐Ÿ™‚

    As part of NaBloPoMo I try to comment on as many participating blogs as I can, and I also add participating blogs to my feed reader.

    So Iโ€™m just dropping by to let you know Iโ€™ve added your blog to my feedreader, Iโ€™m reading you loud and clear, I have a link up going at my place so my readers can find participating blogs which you are more than welcome to add your blog link to.

    Looking forward to seeing your posts, and youโ€™ll likely see me drop by again during November.

    Happy NaBloPoMo to you!
    Snoskred
    http://www.snoskred.org
    Snoskred recently posted…NaBloPoMo โ€“ Half Way Done!My Profile

    1. shifrachester@gmail.com Post author

      How nice of you to come over and leave your comment. I appreciate your kind thoughts and your invitation. I will try to do my best to comment as well. I read so many blogs every day as best as I can. I am glad you are also a part of NaBloPoMo.

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