When I opened the mail box a few weeks ago, I found a hand addressed envelope from my friend Meghan in West Virginia. Eager to open something other than a bill I moved quickly and clumsily back inside to the kitchen table, kicking off my sandals and leaving a trail of junk mail along the path. Inside was a card, along with a long thoughtful message and a quote that made her think of me along with a check for her half of the rental car from our vacation last fall. I’d long forgotten about it, so the check alone was a pleasant surprise. But her handwritten words are worth far more than the $100. The card remains where the dollars are long gone.
On Tuesday I came home from working to a vase full of purple white and red flowers from my boyfriend. “A little something to brighten your days while I’m gone” he said. “Hopefully they survive the two weeks.” It had been a rough couple days and I wasn’t looking forward to him going back to Cincinnati for two weeks. While I was gone, he’d fixed my garden hose so that I’d only have to open the back door to the garden and twist the nozzle instead of going all the way to the side of the house, bare feet getting abused by sticks and stones.
Proverbs 16:24 says kind words are like honey. Sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Kindness is like honey. Sweet and healthy. Delicious and nutritious, if you will. And here’s the best part. Kindness doesn’t require any money, grand gestures, hours of planning, change of life course. We don’t need to buy a book or an online course or attend workshop on How To Be Kind. Kindness is a simple, day in and day out practice, that’s the best kind of contagious. Research shows that being kind makes us happier, reduces inflammation in the body, the kind that leads to chronic diseases, it builds relationships, sustains communities and binds families together.
So then let’s talk about 20 practical ways to spread kindness that can be done in under 5 minutes and for less than $5.
- Smile at every person you pass on the side walk.
- Pay for the person behind you in the Starbucks drive through.
- Leave a thoughtful note for your waiter/waitress.
- Send someone you love a card or note via snail mail.
- Surprise someone who’s struggling with a sweet treat.
- Put your phone away when you’re with people you love and be in the moment.
- Text a friend 3 things you love about them right now.
- Start a box of stuff to donate.
- Put a tip in the tip jar.
- Give someone a hug, like a real, warm, good one.
- Send a Facebook friend who’s struggling a thoughtful message.
- Leave a sticky note behind with a positive message.
- Say hello to the homeless person on the street and look them in the eye.
- Give someone a book you love.
You see, kindness is one of those everyday luxuries, like a lazy Sunday morning brunch, we can choose to spread our sweetness generously like honey on hot, buttery biscuits, spilling over the edges, watching as it sticks to the corners of lips upturned in satisfied grins. Let’s poor kindness on thick, with no fear of wastefulness, to anyone and everyone we meet without stopping to question whether or not they deserve it.
Let me know in the comments how you’re practicing kindness this week!
Krista is a writer & life coach. She is every day falling in love with moments & lines from her favorite books. She loves daydreaming & getting her hands dirty in her garden alongside her dog, Hank. Her heart overflows with love for opening the eyes and hearts of young women to the way that Christ pursues their hearts, and to the love story and grand adventure he calls them to enter into. Check out her website: kristawinbigler.com or follow her on Instagram: @kristawinbigler.